TRADER WOES

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!!!
My New Year’s resolutions don’t last any longer than the lifespan of a Mayfly, which is within a few hours. Last year I made a list that said I will eat more vanilla wafers. Now some may think I was going to say vegetables. I suppose if I had written vegetables, I may not have all this access flesh. The year before that, I scribbled something on a bar napkin about exercising. I was a little woozy and couldn’t make out my own writing. It didn’t matter because I blotted my lipstick and spilled wine all over it. Something always happens to the list which prevents me from carrying out those casual promises I make to myself. One year I started to jot down that I’d be a better pers–. But the cat grabbed it before I could finish and made a lovely play pal out of it, flinging it into the toilet. So I stayed the same screwy and sarcastically entertaining jollity that you have all come to know and hopefully, adore.

I never said I was perfect. I can be a smart ass, I have a potty mouth, and I’m turning into a surplus of suet. I tried flushing out my crazy cranial area with a hose to my ear that sprayed a forceful stream of purifying water, attempted to flatten my flab with a meat pounder, and I taped my mouth shut for a good sixty seconds. That didn’t last long. My shackmate asked me what I wanted for dinner and suggested that we jog through that all-you-can-consume buffet called Trader Joe’s. I yelled “Hooray,” considering I hadn’t eaten for a solid hour and love to sweat. And their food makes me drool. I get very clammy and hangry when I don’t eat. I’d be the world’s worst hostage if I was holed up somewhere without food from this enchanting franchise. It all started with their pumpkin pancake mix. Then they came out with mango Galette, that beautifully handcrafted pastry with my favorite fruit filling. I go in with an empty stomach and go home the impressive owner of mouthwatering items from every single aisle…AND the bakery section. It won’t be long before some magician comes up to me and says, “Abracadabra. You’re fat and flat broke.”

This year, I have the choice to either stay out of Trader Joe’s completely, or buy from that superstore with continued loyalty. If I never went there again, I’d be a frightening portrait of a co-dependent and wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I realize that eating Trader’s Red Vines is like eating eight inches of waxed roping and has two teaspoons of sugar per twirl. But I just can’t help myself. Nor can other women in my town. I find myself fighting off hands of mercurial shoppers who have the fondness for confiscating my addictions. I took the remaining few boxes of licorice and a lady asked me where they all went. If I’m going to take the very last eleven boxes of something, I should assume I’m going to get gangbanged by some other stalwart Trader Joe junkies who are equally jonesing. I never thought someone would be admiring my jugular veins so closely. She probably had every right to bear those big arms. I mouthed off some acerbic sarcasm to my rival. “Licorice? What Licorice!” She should have the New Year’s resolution of curbing those high levels of suspicion and paranoia. I was fortunate that a Joe’s employee didn’t approach exclaiming, “Don’t deny it. We have camera footage of you grabbing every one of them.”

It’s not like me to dwell too much on things like this. Yet methinks the lady doth protested too much, so I surrendered one of my containers, as long as she surrendered her Ganache Torte. I had to have it because it’s very likely somebody’s birthday somewhere in this country. Besides, I had a seven in ten chance of a severe spaz attack had I not inhaled enough chocolate that day. Another lady said that taking all the Sea Salt Almonds was an injustice. If by chance you and I end up tackling each other at Trader’s empire, may the odds be ever in your favor. My boyfriend is good looking, but he’s pretty smoking hot when he’s trying to sneak away to the register with those last containers of something I want. I, on the other hand, feel I’m a great girlfriend because most of the time I have Trader’s Cinnamon Churros in my mouth that prevents me from arguing with him. There have been times my lover wanted to get amorous, but his stomach was growling. He ended up having a foodgasm. Sometimes we have foodgasms together.

Someone left their resolution list in the shopping cart I was using that read: Buy more collard greens, quinoa, flaxseed, and crap like that. The person was probably meandering somewhere out there in a state of wanderlust, simply because he didn’t buy bacon and crap like that. His healthy wife likely wrote that list. Little did she know that I also found a half eaten container of Cookie Butter Ice Cream. I myself have vowed to eat organic plant-like products and arrived home with croissants and calorific crap like that. And their Mac ‘N Cheese??? We usually buy a dozen of them at a time. The problem is that Trader’s food isn’t all fat free. I found that out when I went home to my bathroom scale and it went digitally berserk on me. I tried teetering on it with one foot, but I didn’t know a leg filled with what looked like mounds of cellulitic macaroni could weigh so much. So I put down Joe’s Raisin Rosemary Crisps, removed four pounds of make-up, took off my sock, wiped off the heavy toenail polish, and laid down next to the scale with just one pinkie dangling over the thing. But that seemed awfully ridiculous. I finally flung the scale into the trash and came to three conclusions. I can’t control a dang thing and blubber is proof of that. Secondly, my goal isn’t to become a Hollywood star, so I can put on a few extra pounds. And thirdly, plump folks are just happier folks and that much harder to gag and force into a van.

I’m a little leery about Trader’s bell system. One bell calls another cashier to the register. Two bells means a question needs to be answered. But a mixture of bell tones together means they are either playing around, or someone is shoplifting. God knows I’ve eaten a grape or ten in produce. If I’m going to ascribe to any New Year’s resolution, I should buy a Trader Joe’s franchise so I can take whatever I want, whenever I want. And I can write my own cute things on the chalkboards. Otherwise, I’ll take up scuba diving off the coast of Newfoundland, since I found out the Titanic sank with an elaborate buffet. That, or hack an Al-Qaeda website and replace all the terroristic information with Joe’s Mini Pie Medley, leaving their taste buds ever so tingly in exchange for those urges to bomb.

I’m somewhat in shape. If by “exercising” and “deep meditation” you mean, doing wine crunches on the floor by holding a bottle of vino between my legs with a mouthful of Trader tortilla chips, then yes. I’m mentally and physically fit both morning and night. Squats are a little harder. I could spill the wine and choke on the chips, which could keep me from opening my Trader’s Nutty Seedy Fruity Bar. I may not get rich from writing. But I do expect to get something substantial by endorsing Trader Joe’s. My New Year’s resolutions? Italy. Tango. Trader’s Fig Butter. Wear more sensible pants to allow my buttocks the space it needs for expansion. Trader’s Trek Mix. Get a doughnut tattooed on my cellulite. High five those ninety-year olds buzzing by me in traffic. Trader’s Jalapeno and Honey Chevre Cheese. Cha Cha. Make better bad decisions. Decorate the Joe’s shopping carts. Master the hula hoop. Trader’s Molten Choco…

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL

There’s something you don’t know about me. I wanted to be a songstress, and an instrumentalist. I also wanted to be another Mother Theresa but that didn’t happen either. Christmas’s came and oh by gosh by golly, it was time for mistletoe, holly, tasty pheasants, wishful presents, and our Michigan countryside covered in avalanches of snow. It was my third Noel morning, and I ran to find gifts under the fifty zillion fir needles and stringing lights. The tree wasn’t the only thing that got lit up. Mom and Dad were drinking toddies when I started beating on the drum that Santa left me. As it turned out, my favorite Yuletide melody was The Little Drummer Boy, and theirs became Blue Christmas. Whenever possible, I would spontaneously burst into song while thrashing the membranophone and my irritated mother would tell me, “I appreciate your wonderful arrangement, but I just got your baby sister to sleep.” I pondered, what child is this who lay to rest on Mom’s lap is sleeping? She could have laid her in some far away manger so I could rock around the Christmas tree letting my Christmas spirit ring. There was always an excuse why I couldn’t make music. It didn’t matter though. Because later I’d have some pumpkin pie and resume my pounding and off-key caroling. My parents were forever casting aspersions. “Good God! Do you hear what I hear again?” I think I made my parents tone deaf, but I looked so cute crooning and pummeling with pie crust clinging to my lips. Nor were they impressed when I wanted to get all jolly and deck the halls with boughs of marshmallows and grape jelly. I heard Mom tell Dad, “Honey. Let’s get a babysitter and go to the Caribbean for Christmas. I’m looking a little pasty.”

Being obsessed with music did save my makers from a lot of unwanted solicitors. And faithful friends who were dear to us, gathered far from us, once more. The drums were probably frightful and my voice, well, not very delightful. But Mom didn’t exactly birth Sheila E! The parents were probably hoping I wouldn’t become a composer or Karaoke singer, unless of course I led a band in the Netherlands. They couldn’t watch White Christmas without me belting out Bing Crosby lyrics while playing the flute. “Stop,” said the king and queen to the little lamb. So, to honor them, pa rum pum pum pum, I stopped blasting the cylindrical noise maker and went with a sweet sounding harmonica. Although applying my lips to another mouthpiece was not a pleasant diversion. I blew entrancingly in the presence of my delicate and suffering family members. Yet when Dad took me to see Santa, he wanted me to make a list, check it twice, but ask primarily for a trumpet. It was beginning to look a lot like Mom was angry because she started hissing at Dad in the worst way. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe is what makes a season bright. But they didn’t know that with me around they’d be entertained all night. I was their star of wonder, star so bright, star of keeping them up late in nocturnal hours of friggin’ sleeplessness.

My Christmas lists always consisted of something that was no doubt going to create a lot of ruckus. “I want a piano,” said the child to Santa’s everywhere. But my parents would have had to remove the furniture and most of the kids from our house to accommodate such a large acoustic keyboard. I would have liked a tambourine, but they would have gone into jingle bell shock. Some years were a major disappointment when I didn’t get what I wanted. At twelve years old, I still had this prolonged belief in Santa and waited next to the fireplace for his arrival. I figured having personal communication with the man would assure me gifts that were eminently practical to me, although eminently painful to my parents. Besides leaving cookies, I left four brownies, two Twinkies, and thirteen Mars bars hoping that would satisfy his every need and in turn, he would supply me with a slew of musical instruments. I got dozy while waiting and thought jeepers Santa baby, hurry down this chimney tonight would ya? It was a silent night, a holy night, a night that was perfectly quiet and sacred until I heard something rustling outside in the bushes. I thought to myself, must be Santa, must be Santa Santa Claus! But I didn’t see soot falling in the chimney or a jolly white-bearded gentleman carrying a big bag with a bountiful endowment. It was my older brother trying to sneak back into the house. He was a curious sight, slurring his words while crushing dogwood in our winter wonderland, pressing his face against our ice frosted glass door whimpering, “Baby it’s cold outside. Let me in!” I wanted to bonk him over the head with my drum, but it may have killed him. So I opted for an empty roll of wrapping paper. I never wanted to limit my pounding to just a percussion instrument.

My brother threatened me if I told our parents and of course, that didn’t stop me. I walked around the house the following day using pan lids as cymbals and serenaded the rest of our household with, “Do you know what I know???” I did that about twenty times, because doing it once wasn’t nearly enough. I even got other siblings to join in. Not everyone can become a marching band conductor or lead a relief effort. As I kept telling my delinquent brother, “Santa sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re out with your friends at all hours of the night getting into trouble.” I worried though, that he would come after me and I’d be asking Santa the following year for twins, which would not mean more siblings. All I wanted for Christmas at that point was for my two front teeth not to be pushed out of alignment. My parents may very well have told me to be quiet on occasion, or “better not pout.” But at least they never had to tell me to shovel snow for a month straight, or repeat themselves when I went potty by saying, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be neat and wipe the seat.” Mom and Dad definitely had their own song during the holiday season. “Christmas Christmas time for cheer, time with boys is time for beer.” Of course that was before I grew into a mischief making and ill-mannered teenager myself.

Says me to people everywhere…
Have yourselves a Merry Christmas while using your own weapons of mass percussion. Let’s just hope you don’t cause any grief if you end up banging in public places.
____________________________________________________________________________
AUTHOR OF DAMSEL IN DIS MESS (girlie antics & other shenanigans)
AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON & KINDLE – AUDIO BOOK, FEBRUARY 2017

BOOK LAUNCHING!!!!!!!!

My book DAMSEL IN DIS MESS, brought to you by Aionios Books, will be available soon on Amazon. I wanted to bring my stories to paper and have it read in every household as a reminder that life is not only filled with spiciness, but frolicsome fun at the same time. LOOK FOR IT!

DEJA BOO

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love watching cute little kiddies running around in costumes. But I hate having to think up a costume for myself. I go to a Halloween store to buy a couple things and the total is two hundred dollars. And there’s usually only one piece of candy per trick-or-treater, or the candy turns out to be a penny. Years ago, one young costumed cowboy used some of his quick drawing logic by pointing his toy pistol at a penny giving homeowner demanding, “Your candy or your life,” thus prompting several squirts of water into the candy givers face from his spraying weapon. No one got the gunslinger for possession of a concealed squirt gun, although he was mighty susceptible to parental criticism. He attempted to wipe the homeowners face with his red bandana and spent the next five minutes searching the candy bowl for every single Tootsie Roll. Those were going to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day.

Designer Donatelli Versace believes that the best things in life happen as a result of following your intuition. That’s why for one Halloween party, I dressed as Dolly Farton. I had the perfect blonde wig, stuffed my shirt with inflated balloons, and packed a whoopee cushion inside my pants, which totally added new dimension to a rather boring outfit. They were attention getters alright. It was the only time I let party guests fondle my boobs. And all night people were asking, “Who cut one?” They say it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. In preparation for that party, mine kept coming in clawing at my blown up blimps and windy fanny blaster. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going as Minnie Mouse. And I couldn’t get the wig to look right. My daughter chimed in, “Trust me Mom. No one is going to notice your hair.”

Another year I went to a party as brash housewife LaVerne, the most colorful gum chewing character who I resurrected from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. I was impeccably coifed in a tight fitting leopard skin jumpsuit. It was the gum chewing and lingo I had to perfect. Again, my cat sat staring at me while I practiced getting into character in front of the mirror. It was an opportune time to impersonate others as well. I spend forty-five fun filled minutes entertaining myself and my cat. Daffy Duck was a no brainer. But Elvis was a bit harder to achieve. I couldn’t sing I’m all Shook Up and pivot my pelvis at the same time. With all the fur my cat was leaving on my bedspread, I could have wrapped the thing around me and gone as a fur hide draped cavewoman. It turned out to be a rather ho hum party till I got there. I take that back. Carmen Miranda’s exotic fruity headdress hit the spinning ceiling fan.

Trick-or-treating with my kids was always memorable. There I was walking my small daughters through oddball suburbia wondering what else I would come across besides goblins and severed bloody heads. One year we walked up to a guy’s house who had dressed up geckos on his lawn, which pretty much convinced me that he had a reptile dysfunction. Another man came to the door with Gummy Snakes in his beard. One neighbor couldn’t be bothered with Halloween. He was putting out his Christmas decorations. Old lady Ferguson figured she could save about twenty dollars a year on Halloween candy, or keep children away period by lining her doorstep with vegetables. And a teen dressed as a pregnant Mother Hubbard started barfing up Smirnoff all over someone’s lawn. What a spooktacular event that was. I had to explain to my innocent youngsters that she might be experiencing morning sickness. They said, “But Mom, it’s nighttime.” The exhausted homeowner cleaned up her mess and called her parents. I was willing to keep all her candy, and call a cab to transport her to a detox treatment center.

We came across an individual dressed as Frankenstein, who was sitting beside his front door holding his head in his hand when we approached to ring the doorbell. It was by far, the single most traumatizing decoration ever. What looked like a dummy sitting in a chair turned totally real and began to move, scaring me to no end. At first, I thought maybe it was just a side effect from the new deodorant I was using. Jeepers creepers. Always be prepared for strange and spine-chilling human beings on Halloween. An exhumed corpse may come alive and tell you all the reasons why they love gutting little children. I suppose that stopping hearts was his way of reducing the overpopulation problem. He was passing out gumballs, which could get lodged in our windpipes and keep oxygen from getting to the brain. I wondered, what the devil are they breeding here? He must have referred his every decision to the tribunal of Transylvania. There’s a fine line between monster and normal neighbor, and I wasn’t willing to cross it. So I grabbed my girls and ran. I was frightened as frightened could be while my kids were yelling, “Wait Mom, we didn’t get our candy!”

Halloween isn’t the same without a haunted house. Most of those cursed establishments show a trickle of light here and there that provides a sufficient pathway throughout the deep dark horrific structures. One was so blindingly black that I had a death grip on my girl’s coat collars so I wouldn’t lose them. My youngest daughter complained that I was choking her, and I had this nerve-racking notion that someone was going to kill me at the same time I was killing my kid. A hand touched me and I asked, “C’mon whoever you are, lead me through this thing won’t you?” I just hate it when I smile at strangers and they don’t smile back, or I ask questions and don’t get good answers. All I heard was a baleful BOOOOOOOO. I felt as though I had entered Alfred Hitchcock’s residence and some psychos were never going to let me leave. Based on the cast of characters, I was pretty sure some celebrities were there. Like Adam Handler, Drew Scary, Charlie Scream, and Leonardo DeCapitation. Quentin Tarantulatino was there providing his satirical humor by dropping spiders onto the heads of all the tourers. I walked into that house fairly normal and came out with the need to be cast into an insane asylum. In light of those dim circumstances, the next year I sewed noisy little bells to my girl’s coats, carried a flashlight, and dressed up as Jack the Ripper. I probably should have hired a bodyguard.

OH SWEET DAIRIES OF LIFE, I’M GLAD I FOUND YOU

I am so thankful for Richard Dreyfuss. I just found out he eats at the same ice cream parlor as I do and eats the very same ice cream that I love. And since product availability varies at each location during different times of the year, he called their corporate headquarters asking that they not remove the luscious chocolaty flavor from our locale. They probably wouldn’t have complied if the begging had come from little old me.

Ice cream satisfaction goes way back to the days of the Good Humor truck. I had a hard time avoiding the daily siren call of Creamsicles, snow cones, or anything with a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream. We could hear the ringing bells a quarter of a mile away. That gave us time to hunt our mother down and have her go through her wallet to find enough money to satisfy our every need. I really wanted twenty dollar bills, since I had a hankering for about fifteen other needs on their menu. I figured the best way to bypass any conflict with my parents or siblings was to consume as much creamy goodness as I could, starting right after breakfast. But I was confronted with a strange paradox. Mom was a church going conservative who owned a beautiful home in the burb plus a colored TV, but never kept huge amounts of currency in her wallet. Life would have been so much better if she’d kept tons more cash on hand, so I could eat ice cream every hour on the hour.

One day I developed an ice cream headache, followed by digestive issues. My mother probably thought that broccoli and Brussels sprouts wouldn’t have done that to me. But ice cream cured a lot of other things like episodic migraines, sibling infarctions, and persistent schoolitis. My manifestations weren’t going to damper my chances of chasing the Good Humor man down the street. I figured ice cream a day kept the doctor away. But not in my case. Mom planned on taking me the next morning to see our family physician. Meanwhile, she assumed I was simply lactose intolerant and banned me from all dairy. She told me to eat fruit without whipped cream. It was like telling me I could have pizza, without the cheese. She might just as well have offered me a slab of tofu or a pile of pickled beets. I couldn’t watch Popeye for God’s sake, the way he scarfed spinach straight from the can. Yet neither my angry expression nor my confidently spoken demands caused her to give in. My needs were simple. I didn’t need anything else inside my system other than dairy products. Nothing increased the number of meals together unless my mother was making milkshakes or served us sundaes. I’m surprised I didn’t ask for cartons of ice cream for Christmas and my birthdays.

After Mom cut me off cold turkey that night, I went through major withdrawals. I went from being Good Humor’s biggest fan and top purchaser to watching my siblings eat creamy confections right in front of me. Mom said she would save the last of the ice cream for me once the doctor gave me the okay to eat it. But I was compelled to perform the complicated maneuver of sneaking into the kitchen, releasing the frosty ice milk from the freezer into the trembling hands of this tortured vessel. The kitchen adjoined the family room where my mother sat intently engulfed in the scandals that Peyton Place provided. Even if the house had been burning down, she was not going to get up to call the fire department. So I figured I had the chance at ice cream retrieval. I made several failed attempts, since my siblings were intermittently traipsing in and out of the kitchen and would surely snitch on me. The freezer was a pulsating aorta of dairy products and there were salivating brothers and sisters who anticipated it as well. Come to find out, one of them snatched my frozen dessert. I thought I would go insane. Every resident in our pagoda of rapscallion inhabitants had absolutely no idea where that ice cream went. Had my parents dusted for fingerprints, someone would have been sent to the gallows. And if I found out it was a several sibling thievery, I was prepared to boil the culprits in a bubbly cauldron and keep every future carton to myself. Someone also stole my favorite pair of socks. My mother found me lying awake late that night and asked me, “Must you sleep with one eye open?” I would rather she wake everyone up and announce that she was having a two hour seminar the next day on how not to steal stuff from each other.

The doctor confirmed my diagnosis. I didn’t have mad cow disease. Although everything about me was irritable except my stomach, and I missed out on a whole night of bliss. I just couldn’t believe I was doing it wrong all those years. I should have bought Good Humor treats and resold them to the highest bidding siblings, kept the cash for my own stash, and buried a metal container outside to keep my goodies in those long cold winters. Come spring, summer, and fall, it would have been a free-for-all those who didn’t cross me.

I have currently adopted the Nike slogan, slightly revised. I say, Just do it…later. What’s the rush to do anything else when eating ice cream should come first. It’s become the appetizer to my every meal. Besides, at this stage of my life, I can do anything I want.

LOVE IS A MANY CENSORED THING

My brain was my most superlative organ, up until I fell in love the first time. I was thirteen. Not a single force on earth could stop my trembling body. I had to suffer through the entire school year before seeing this guy at my grandparent’s cottage every summer. He and his cousins occupied two cabins across the lake. You sure learn to swim in a hurry when there’s a cute bushy blonde on the other side you want to manhandle. I was either going to swim across for some great kisses, or I was going to die trying. I made that decision in fifteen feet of lake water, and have survived to tell about it.

Recently I ran across a stack of love letters from my first crush. I probably should have sued him for fraud after he told me he would love me forever and went on to marry another woman. Love seemed so eternal at the time. One year my siblings and I contracted the mumps and measles and I sat lakeside staring at his cabin. I could only see him from a distance and it was pure agony. The next year we were like animals in heat. I had practically planned our futures together, although our unworldly and callow innocence kept us from even touching each other. That Christmas, I was hoping that my true love would send me that golden ring. When I didn’t get one in the mail, my heart continued to beat despite the imaginary knife that was wedged inside it. Even though I would have liked a sleepover with this friend every single night of the week, I wasn’t exactly ready to be tied down to holy wedlock at fourteen. Not when there were men who make one common mistake when they get married. They stop playing and flirting with their wives. In all fairness, women choose chocolate over their mates every day.

The year after our viral diseases, I was a little older but not that much wiser when I was willing to pick out plate patterns after playing spin-the-bottle in his barn…as if a kiss solidified our relationship. There were about eight of us twirling the empty glass decanter along with my boyfriend’s wily wise guy of a cousin, who also had a hopeless crush on me. He thought it was love at first sight. I didn’t think it was love at tenth sight. I suspected he came from the Garden of Eden where strutting around in a bulging bathing suit slash loincloth was customary. There is no substitute for flimsy nylon, except for maybe heavy duty canvas that would completely cover his cullions. It would be a trusted favorite among girls who don’t want to see a boy’s package.

I was hesitant in playing the bottle game since he tried directing the thing straight at me. I refused to kiss him because after that, he would have wanted to play naked Twister. I had a very hard time liking the brown eyed boy who kept saying, “Just digest those butterflies baby.” It was possible that he was just missing some nutrient-rich foods in his diet that would make him less of a scoundrel such as Choline, for normal brain development. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that my tingles were reserved for his captivating cousin.

But the stalker wouldn’t go away. I would get up in the morning and stroll outside where he would be hiding around every corner. He caught me very serenely walking through lofty pine trees and came up behind me remarking, “You seem so unhappy. I’m here to change that.” A babe in the woods is susceptible to wolves and restless boys on the make. Despite all my unembellished appeals for solitude, he couldn’t help himself on another occasion when we got ice cream cones. He commented, “It must be love if your ice cream melted.” I would have preferred that my boyfriend treated me like some majestic endangered species. Not this guy. I wanted so badly to tell my shrewd pursuant, “Meet me back in these deep dark woods at midnight.” I would have shown up fully costumed in Reaper gear, ready for a castration.

After summer vacations, I went home and looked every day for the mailman to come, waiting for those love letters from my crush. One day I opened a note that read, “I miss you. Probably not near as much as you miss me, but I’m an awesome catch.” It was from the boy I despised. Every summer I would see him again and he gave me several more good reasons not to date him. He could make me cringe. He could pump blood faster than he could pump gas. His could create tidal waves when I was trying to sunbathe quietly on a floating raft. I wanted a love like Napoleon and Josephine, Richard and Liz, Morticia and Gomez, Romeo and Juliet. But I also wanted a relationship that would last longer than five days. And I surely wouldn’t commit to mutual suicide.

Years later, I was curious to know if I would be attracted to that loathsome lad at the cottage and choose him instead over my crush. Doting can go a long way. Maybe I should have accepted his fourteen marriage proposals. I went on to marry as well, but found matrimony to be very complex and psychological. One mate ends up logical, and the other a bit psycho. In my case, don’t ask me who was who.

NOW OR NEVER

I hear it all the time from friends my age. “I just can’t do what I used to do.” So I decided to challenge myself and go roller skating, and almost ended up in traction. I couldn’t just settle for gliding gracefully on wood floors at some roller rink. I had to pick unsmooth asphalt filled with a stretch of patchy potholes. I guess I wanted to bring out my inner child and do something adventurous. I know what you’re thinking. My inner nitwit has surfaced and you probably wonder what on God’s dangersome earth I will do next. But I’ve always felt that playfulness fosters good health. Although in this particular case, playfulness resulted in the re-alignment of my circulatory system.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So does probiotics, and keeping ourselves out of harm’s way. Okay, there might be more to life than soaring down the street screaming and scaring my neighbors. I’m getting an early start on being an old crash test dummy. I ended up trampling petunias, contoured a row of variegated yucca, and just about took out the Donahue’s beagle. But as usual, I got right back up as I have done millions of times in the past when I was down and practically out, and I will do it every time again until doctor’s can no longer stitch my broken body back together. But when I take on a blood sport, I must say that every drop of plasma running through my veins feels like I’ve been adorned with the ichor of an energized Jehovah. At any given moment, we have two choices. Go forward with determination by turning a mission into something not so impossible. Or step back into safety. I’m not about to let grocery shopping or coloring my calendar be the highlight of my day. Yet I do pity the poor souls who might be in my path. There may be other Sexagenarians roller skating at the crack of dawn who may likely plow into me. I probably shouldn’t be part of the neighborhood watch when I can’t see much in dim lighting, nor can I keep my eyes propped past nine pm.

It’s been proven that elders morph into being children again. Although kids are much cuter. I still eat the cream in the middle of an Oreo first. I too get grumpy when I’m tired, don’t recall what I did ten minutes ago, have poor impulse control, go to bed early and wake before the rest of civilized society, need someone to explain technology, cry out in frustration, base my entire days around food, babble, and I’m menacing behind the wheel of a car. I also don’t have the keenest of eyes or ears. Then there’s that attention deficit disorder.

Dum-di-dum

Sorry for that bit of blankness, but I was trying to remember the other similarities associated with children and older people. Yesterday I was forced to do something I hadn’t done since grade school, which was write notes to my boyfriend saying, “I will not yell. I will not misbehave. I will not burn the house to the ground. I will not throw pan lids at the stove when I’ve scorched something because I walked away and completely forgot that I was cooking something.” My man has no use for vandalism, or for sexy looking firefighters blasting water throughout our kitchen. He probably thinks I’m being overdramatic when I’m stressed out. Octopuses eat their arms when they are frazzled. That’s way more overdramatic than I’ll ever be.

We went to bed last night and I was furiously throwing the blanket back and forth since my stupid body can’t decide whether it’s hot or cold. Meanwhile my bedmate was looking for the light switch on the lamp. I gave him twenty minutes before I jumped in and showed him how to turn it off. However twenty minutes after that, he had to show me how to shut up when I was still rambling endlessly about the stove incident. I tried to restrain my gustatory gesture of passing gas, something both young’uns and seniors do as well. I told him that my flatulence was all his fault. He should have never taken me to Don Pablo’s for dinner. It was a small toot mind you, nothing earth shattering. But every time he says he’s going to trade me in for a newer model, I have to remind him that those younger babes have rear end exhaust systems that could also backfire. Since we’re such a compromising couple, I said I would light some candles, and he said he would get the fire extinguisher. I was always taught to respect my elders and impress upon them some care and concern. So I randomly switched topics, telling him he should probably wear a helmet when riding his stationary bike. My wisecracking loverboy responded, “And you should shower with your glasses on so you don’t use my shampoo and razor by mistake.” I wasn’t sure whether to clap after that comment, or say Amen.
Before we finally settled into a deep sleep, I expressed another worry about his blood pressure. He told me next time not to leave him waiting at the restaurant table while I went to the restroom for half a century. I explained to him that I spent a distressing twenty minutes of purposeful sobbing in the ladies room, trying to embrace the fact that my wrinkles are worsening. I went on to tell him that when I was young and my mother told me I could grow up to be anything I choose, I didn’t exactly choose to be an aging flower child whose petals are wilting. I stayed in the bathroom because I needed a lot more concealer under my eyes, and about twenty other noticeably sad places. I’m just glad age spots and extra weight don’t make me more radical with age. But I can tell you this. It’s never a good idea to ask a woman in her sixties if she’s inconceivably pregnant. She may have just eaten three extra cheesy burritos with a pile of Spanish rice and drank two super-sized margaritas, and topped the night off with a lovely bonfire and eighteen S’Mores.

I have realized that there are three stages of life. Birth, middle age, and what the living hell is this? I am a lot closer to approximating infinity with my higher being than I am going to the kitchen in the morning to freshly baked muffins made by my boyfriend. What I did find were keys still sitting in the lock outside our front entrance. Neither one of us remembers who opened the door and left them there. But at least we remembered enjoying ourselves by getting off our butts and going out to frolic with friends. It’s now or never, because there may be no next time or second chances.

CAUTIONARY TALES

My beau and I are doing everything in our power to stay alive. We might increase our chances considerably if we never leave the house. Sometimes we sit in front of the television taking one anxiety attack at a time when watching commercial ads that try to sell us supplements for our aging bodies that might just result in dangerous disparity as well. With all their product liabilities and my atrocious luck, I’d probably choke to death trying to swallow their publicized pills. Those ads certainly don’t let us sit very comfortably when they are warning: Don’t take if you’re a marmot, pregnant, almost pregnant, have been pregnant, prone to sudden bursts of tears, or have moles. And, at the first sign of paralysis, call your doctor immediately. My mate asked how he could possibly make that call if he’s paralyzed.

As we sit in quiet bemusement, we can’t help but wonder what’s the worst that could happen if we took these questionable capsules? I would probably find a forest and lay on the ground exploring the stars and the deep dark galaxy, in broad daylight, during bear mating season. The last time I took something that had significant side effects was about eight years ago. I was walking down the street where saw a sign on a building and swore it said Do not enter or trespassers will be prostituted. I wasn’t sure if I should be an example to others and not go in, or prove to myself that my body was still worthy. Because the heavier side effects that day could have been tricking, possible prostitution, jail time, and loss of family and close friends. That was one excited corner of crowded onlookers who were hoping I would drop everything and play strip poker or dance the hip hop boob and fanny flop. Meanwhile, my boyfriend at the time didn’t take anything and still experienced side effects. Just viewing a picture of Jessica Alba in a bathing suit resulted in uncontrollable manliness. I needed to find something that would settle his horny self down.

When you think about it, there are impending dangers to everything. I refrain from jogging because according to every episode of CSI, there’s a big chance I’ll run across a dead body. And with all the child protective warnings, it would have been easier just to get rid of my kids. When my middle daughter was small, I was very much aware of warning labels. For one of her playdates, I bought that moldable silicone based substance called Silly Putty which comes in original, glow-in-the-dark, glitter, and four bright colors. Yet the stuff contains colorants that could cause serious side effects of staining, and direct contact can make it stick to hair, batten down eyelashes, and be used as permanent ear and nose plugs when dried. Of course during that lovely little incident, my daughter’s girlfriend’s mother came over and saw what my darling did to her child. She had been a delightful woman in the past, until she asked if my daughter was a demon. She also inquired what I fed her child for lunch. She gave me the full facts and folklore about hot dogs claiming the meat is simply manslaughter. Little did she know the girls washed their weenies down with 100% healthy fruit juice.

To calm this woman’s nerves, I offered her a 100% hefty glass of fruit stomped juice known as wine. But she said the Surgeon General insists that if we drink violaceous substances, to be prepared for headaches so bad that we will want to scoot directly to the hospital for a brain scan. She went on to tell me the other un-dietary side effects that include devouring copious amounts of bar nuts, besides poisoning the bloodstream and explaining all the seventy made up reasons why country singers chant about love gone wrong. I almost drowned myself that day from the goblet filled tsunami of fermented relief. I turned to her teasingly and warned her, “Don’t try this at home!” After they left, I ended up reading a book to my daughter about Alice’s titillating Adventures in a Wonderbra. She read one to me called Are You My Mother?

Some memories still come so vividly to me. Many moons ago I housesat for someone who left whimsical warnings throughout his manly shack. The comical and jocose gentleman must have had a jolly time writing me those notes. I went to use the bathroom and found one near the toilet that read, This area might be lethally hazardous. But zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay, just walk away and have yourself a wonderful day. I should have married the guy. Not for his poor cleaning skills, but for his farcical talents. The gun owner even made his own warning label that read, Not only will this weapon mame you if you mess with it, it’ll hurt the whole time you’re dying. Even the washing machine had the warning, Nothing over fifteen pounds. Only a moron would try to wash the dog in a front loader. The next note was far less convincing. I proceeded to do his wash and a shirt label advised, For best results, wash in cold water and tumble dry on low heat. If I had been a laundering extremist, I would have been going for the worst results by tying the garment to the top of my car and driving it through the car wash, then drying it by speeding through town at two hundred miles per hour. But doing that could easily cause injury, frivolous lawsuits, or early onset mortality.

What if we are all forced to wear warning labels? I’m fairly certain mine would caution that I’m known to spontaneously combust and spew liquids, and I shouldn’t be left unsupervised under a full moon… or with Italian men. God forbid if I ever have a suffocation warning attached to me that says: Keep this bag away from babies, pets, and alcohol.

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

In an unexpected moment of devotion, my doting boyfriend came up to me and said, “I love you.” I asked “Why?” He responded, “I don’t know. I haven’t figured that out yet.” I don’t always whimper. But when I do, questionable fondness is probably involved. But I am convinced that this man adores me so much that he would never use me as bait on a safari if it were a choice between him and me in a tiger attack. I like to be the reason he smiles when he knows he’s going to get eaten alive. Here is another endearing phrase he uses. “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.” But the relationship will continue to grow and prosper and mutually benefit both of us if he doesn’t stand over me with a pillow and a gun when I snore.

Speaking of such profound adoration, both my Dad and my boyfriend think Sophia Loren is simply the sexiest woman ever. I have often wondered out of the millions of women on earth, why Sophia? Is it the curvaceous figure? Or the fact that she wows a crowd with her movie star glamour? Is it the charcoal winged eyeliner she so pointedly paints above and below her eyes that extends almost to her earlobes and screams Here I am boys? People may not recognize me anymore once I start penciling in wickedly black and lengthy enhancers. But I suspect the good Lord did not intend for men to ogle over just one woman.

Recently my beau and I stayed in a Hollywood hotel where every elevator is plastered with actual size movie stars. You walk into one and cannot help but become enchanted by the famous highnesses of Hollywood who have you mesmerized when they stare into your eyes. After a night of moderate drinking, we proceeded back to our hotel where Casanova and I entered one of the big square hoists and he immediately zooms in on the female stars. “Hey girls,” he says followed with, “Nevermind.” As if they weren’t exactly the girls he wanted to flirt with. I asked him, “What about Marilyn?” He answered, “Nope. It’s gotta be Sophia Loren.” We walked down the hall to our room that was lined with more photographs of classic stars. I mosied by each one pointing out Greta Garbo, Montgomery Clift, Veronica Lake, and Lawrence Olivier. Then I yelled, “No way! They placed Sophia Loren right next to OUR room?? What are the odds!” I’m not normally a jealous woman. But I was in star hell that night having to share my beau with a classic Italian pin-up actress, listening to the kind of coquetry carried on by my lover and the sexy Sophia. Her smirky smile threatened to reduce me to something very much like a creature from another planet. Is it a coincidence that I brought along my current reading material Why Men Die First? I’m sure there are chapters coming up about crushes, homewreckers, infidelity, and bloodshed.

Sure, it could have been the three glasses of wine. But I had to explain to my sweet sugardumpling that when a woman wants a guy, first she has to make sure he isn’t with another woman. Then she should catch his eye and hold his gaze for five seconds. I’d say the sultry Sophia was holding his gaze for the entire time we stood there talking. Then a woman is supposed to flip her hair and walk away. I tried telling mister stud muffin that women who can’t flip their hair and walk away are needy and can clamp onto a guy like a bloodthirsty parasite. I’ve done more research on domestic intelligence than the FBI, and sometimes the smallest step of reassurance can activate the mightiest of miracles. I wondered if the aging star suffers like I do from memory loss, and if she too disguises her midriff. In fact, I wanted to go home and look into the dilapidated factors of other famous women. I tried gaining his attention back by laughing at his sleek Casanova impersonation, and restructuring the conversation towards something a little more intriguing like the Louisiana Purchase. After all, I’m no stranger to wine’s magical powers myself. I was almost sure I heard the urbane actress offer my guy a lovely lap dance.

No wonder my beau was so amorous that night. He burst into the room and grabbed me passionately. He claims it’s not about sex with Sophia. It’s more about sensuality. Even though I knew our love would burn stronger than a wired tungsten filament in a see through bulb, I wasn’t born yesterday, or the day before that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stay awake that night wondering about the women he dreams about. At about 4 am I told him, “Honey, it’s been three years now. I think it’s time we seriously thought about cutting ties to past loves.”

Women want trust, loyalty, affection, and no gaping at other gals. Then we will do most anything men want, except move to a remote fishery in the Yukon. As we left the room to check out, my fella said, “I’m walking right by her since I only have eyes for you babe.” That was special. I think crazy girlfriends are the best because you never know what you’re going to get. You might get eight hours of solid sleep yourself, or be awakened by a slinging of catcalls by your mate who swears she is Batwoman but looks more like a disheveled Lizzie Borden on some mission to murder somebody. I usually need seven hours of healthful beauty sleep. Ten if I’m deplorable.

According to Sir Jiminy Cricket, when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are and your dreams come true. I thought maybe the rapturous Sophia was going to come down off the wall and have her way with my man. If that had been the case, I would have been searching that wall for Cary Grant.