A Peaceful, Easy Birthday Everyone Forgot, and I Like It That Way

At my age it is a lovely thing when everyone forgets your birthday.  Jerry can’t remember his own birthday without either straining to read the fine print on his driver’s license, or by checking with the BMV, so I forgive him for that.  His family doesn’t bother to recognize birthdays, likely for two good reasons.  His Dad and his Dad’s fourteen other siblings were born at home, deep in the hollers of rural WV, and none of them have birth certificates.  The date- and year- listed as his Dad’s birthday on his Dad’s driver’s license is likely not his Dad’s actual birthday, but someone’s best guess.  Since his Dad got a social security card and driver’s license long before you had to have a birth certificate to acquire either, his Dad is grandfathered in.

I wonder if he would be able to get a passport?  If he were really pressed could he prove he is an American citizen?  Our friend Bob is an American citizen but he was born in London (his Dad was American but his Mom is English) and his birth certificate is in London.   Bob can’t get a copy of his birth certificate unless he goes to London to get it, but you can’t go to the UK without a passport.  Thankfully the Social Security people recognized his honorable discharge from the Marines as proof of citizenship.  Bob still can’t get a passport though, because when he tried he was told that one has to have a certified copy of one’s birth certificate.  Then again, I highly doubt that Jerry’s Dad would really need a passport for anything, unless they make it mandatory to have a passport to cross the border from WV back to Ohio.  The birth certificate requirement to acquire a passport is probably a blessing in disguise to keep old rednecks from traveling abroad and perpetuating the “Ugly American” stereotype.  Then again, maybe our foreign friends have never tried getting rid of hemorrhoids by soaking them in kerosene.

When you have so many family members that every day is someone’s birthday or so it seems, it’s a lot harder to remember every one and a lot harder to afford to buy gifts for every one.  So, I can see where Jerry gets the idea to  simplify his life and just celebrate all his family’s birthdays every day with a 12 pack of Natties and a couple of packs of smokes.

I do find it entertaining how some people remember my birthday sometime in the middle of March and then send sheepy, belated wishes.  It’s OK to forget.  I don’t really want to be reminded that I’m one day closer to death anyway.

Over time one gets a new appreciation for bodily functions functioning as they should.

Admittedly not everyone forgot my birthday. The BMV doesn’t forget.  I renewed my vehicle registration last week.  No way do I want to drive around in the Central Ohio suburb with the largest number of cops per capita with an expired tag.  I don’t even remotely want to give law enforcement any reason to approach me for anything.  Cops make me nervous.  My Facebook friends remembered, because your friends get reminders automatically.  I appreciate everyone who wrote on my wall today.  My friends from my church group remembered for the same reason- all of our birthdays are on the contact sheet.  But my family all forgot, which is funny as hell.  Steve-o remembered to call- to remind me he needs money.   Jerry acknowledged me coming back after I’d gone in to work this morning with a rousing, “Where’s my breakfast, woman?”  So the world remains the same.

The Precious Only Male Child Phenomenon

 

I have to deal with three men who are precious only male children on a regular basis- Dad, (and he was the least indulged or mollycoddled of the three) Steve-o, (who was a precious only male child simply by default- he’d have been an only child regardless of his gender) and Jerry, who was the long awaited “male heir”- coming after three older sisters.

Of course Jerry was by far the most indulged, mollycoddled and downright pampered of the three.

Old traditions die hard.   We aren’t that far removed from Henry VIII’s mentality even in today’s politically correct atmosphere.  If you must procreate, society places more value on sons.   Most men are not terribly thrilled about the arrival of children to begin with, and even if they don’t admit it, daughters are particularly disappointing for them.  I would say ask my Dad, but he won’t admit it- at least not in front of me.   A man wants his offspring to look and talk and swagger like he does.  He wants a man-child to carry on his name and all that happy horseshit.

Mothers of only sons tend to be more protective of their precious only male children.  I hate to admit it but I am guilty of it too. We defend them, we indulge them, we let them get away with far too much because we understand that testosterone short-circuits their brains and makes them unable to cook, clean, pick up after themselves or remember to wash their bits and pits while showering.  We assume that other females are too capable and able to tend to their own needs for us to cater to them- and besides, they have to learn Life Skills sooner or later.  We need not explain to other females that if you don’t cook you starve, if you don’t clean you drown in squalor, and if you want something, get off your ass and get it yourself.  Women do learn faster than men.  The testosterone-addled minds of male children, (probably a good number of adult males as well) however, can’t seem to grasp the concept that meals do not cook themselves, shampooing while showering is not “optional,” and we do not choose which pair of pants to wear based on whether or not the crotch passes the “sniff test.”

I have actually said this phrase out loud, and with all sincerity:

“Steve-o, if you wore them they’re dirty.  Don’t sniff the crotch.  Put them in the wash.  NOW!”

Steve-o has actually become somewhat functional in the self-care department.  He cares too much about his sex life to neglect his hygiene. The bad point about this is he cons his girlfriend into washing his laundry for him. She’s going to get really tired of that stinky chore.

Jerry I must say has good personal hygiene for a man, but his commendable life skills pretty much stop there.

I think his brain would explode if he had to:

Brew a pot of coffee (he doesn’t drink it so he wouldn’t bother anyway)

Wash a dish

Make his own Dr. or dental appointment

Get his own scripts

What is it about precious only male children that renders them helpless and unable to function without all sorts of high-maintenance interventions?No, I don’t dress him.  Not anymore.

 

A Well-Deserved Rebuke, Losing Perspective, and Whiny Minorities

I got a very pointed reminder today from one of my closest friends (who I’ve not seen in years) that I have been pathetically lax in doing the things that friends do- i.e. communicating…   He didn’t come right out and say that in so many words, but the correspondence he sent me certainly implied it, and I get the point.  I can count on one hand the people I actually consider to be friends versus casual acquaintances or family I have to tolerate because they’re blood, and he is one of the two human beings on Earth who know me better than anyone except for God Himself.  There really is no good excuse for me being so distant.  I can say that my health issues or work or Jerry’s high maintenance demands are the culprits, but to do that is a cop out.  It’s been over a year since the hysterectomy so that’s not an excuse, (my health has improved most markedly since then)  I used to work a lot more hours than I do now, so it’s not really about time, and Jerry always was and always will be high maintenance and jealous of every second I fail to spend kissing his ass.

So the thing that’s holding me back is the thing that always holds me back.  Fear.  I am afraid to make a simple phone call to my closest friend because I am afraid that he will tell me what I already know.  I’m getting used, abused and ran like a railroad, I allow it to happen, and I’ve allowed it to happen my entire life.  He has told me that for years even though I know it already and I’ve failed to do anything about it.   I am a rather pathetic specimen in more ways than one.  But I did make the call, and at least had the courage to leave a voice mail, for what it’s worth.

I’m tired of living in fear, and I need to break that particular bad habit.  I also have to have the decency and the just plain humanity to maintain the relationships and the people who have maintained me and grown my soul.   The caveat here is to maintain such relationships in an honorable and good way.  Running from them is not an answer.  Since when did I give a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks of me except for God Himself?  The touchy part of this is that in my quest to “do the right thing” I’ve gotten so hung up on morality and rules and conventions that I ignore people.  I’m afraid to maintain a dialogue with my friends- especially those of the opposite gender- because I am afraid that I will fall down the slippery slope.  I guess it’s hard to be bad to other people when you avoid them, but it’s also bad to avoid them because then you’re not doing any good.  I admit, I use Jerry as an excuse because he does make things difficult for me, but he will always do that.  Sometimes I forget that socially and emotionally he has a mental age of about four.  I’m not saying that to criticize because I am an emotional cripple myself.

I have lost my perspective and have come damned close to losing whatever honor I ever had.  I know emotions are a really difficult area for me, but running away from them and failing to be honest with myself regarding how I feel and who and what I deem to be important is not working. 

I have to admit, nobody does apathy like I do.  Then again, if I get something in my craw it’s hard for me to do or think of anything else.

Especially when the large groups are trucked in from Michigan and West Virginia to protest at the Ohio statehouse, so the media will think that most of the people in Ohio are all for continuing the status quo instead of actually addressing the graft and waste in state and local government.  Nice try, but I hope that the Governor as well as the General Assembly have enough sense to understand that the union protesters are a very small but very whiny minority. 

The tail has wagged the dog long enough.

That goes for every other whiny minority out there too, including any racial group who thinks they are owed reparations because their distant ancestors were slaves, including the litigation happy trial lawyers, including the special rights for gays contingent, and anyone else out there who believes they are entitled to special protections or perks that the majority is not entitled to.

The bottom line:

Anyone who goes back far enough in their genealogy will find ancestors who were slaves.  I have a good number of Scots in my lineage, but I really don’t feel compelled to go back on Great Britain to seek reparations for the Scots in my ancestry who were enslaved, oppressed or killed back in antiquity.  Nor do I feel compelled to go to the US government to seek reparations for their treatment of my Cherokee ancestors.

Anyone who feels compelled to sue someone else because of their own stupidity and negligence (remember the lawsuit over McDonald’s coffee being hot?) should be 1. laughed right out of court, and 2. fined for wasting the court’s time with bullshit.  The bottom feeding trial lawyers who make a killing on insurance fraud and frivolous, bullshit litigation should be fined also, and then required to make restitution to the honest part of society by picking up trash along the freeways and serving the homeless  who come to the soup kitchens.

I don’t really care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, and I really don’t care if a person is gay, straight, bi, furry, whatever, as long as they abide by the rules and contribute to society.  However, getting special treatment because of one’s lifestyle choice is not only unfair, but it has been proven by medical science that the gay lifestyle leads to a  host of serious health concerns.  We also know from history that rampant homosexuality led to the decline of both the Greek and Roman societies in antiquity.  Do we really think that sanctioning homosexual partnerships and claiming them to be as good if not better than heterosexual marriage is a good thing for society in general?  How about a legal process in which one’s partner-be it a roommate, a business partner or a homosexual lover- is given the right to legally act in many of the ways that a spouse automatically is?  Marriage is for a man and a woman, with the implication that there may be breeding going on, but any two people can choose to be “legal partners” or something of that effect.  That sounds like a viable compromise to me.

I think I’ve ranted enough for today, but the lesson lingers on.  I cannot forget about and/or neglect my friends.  I don’t have that many to begin with.

Definitely Not Normal, So Adjust, (and Learn When to Say “Tough Titty!”)

I never really liked the word “normal,” because “normal” is a most subjective word.  What is normal for me is probably not normal for most other people, and vice-versa.  That’s OK, because I’m comfortable with the way I’m wired, and I can navigate with it pretty well.   The problem for me is that the rest of the world isn’t wired the same way, so I have to modify my methods and approach accordingly in my interactions with the rest of humanity.  My peculiar wiring gives me some advantages (for instance, for me, speed-reading has always been a mechanism that is both automatic and near and dear to my heart) but my wiring also gives me disadvantages when the only route I’ve been given is not the well-traveled road.   I see much that others miss, but I miss much that others see.  I miss the subtle cues of facial expression and body language that most people cue in on automatically.  I have to make a conscious effort not only to read non-verbals, but also to be sure that I’m sending the right non-verbals, both of which are vexing for me.  I’d much rather communicate in print so I can revise as necessary and say what I mean to say.  I also have to make a conscious effort to do anything requiring gross motor skills.  I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was almost 8 years old, and in spite of intense physical therapy when I was 3-4 years old, and my mother’s misguided attempt to force me into ballet lessons a few years later, (too bad they didn’t have video cameras then, because my abysmal attempts at ballet dancing would have been a hoot to watch) I’m still doing good to walk without falling. 

A better term for “normal” in my world would be “neurotypical”- meaning the vast majority of humanity, i.e. people who can walk across a room without tripping on their own feet, and whose perception is not perennially “cranked up to 11.”   Neurotypical people have to learn to read the written word the hard way (something I still don’t understand, because I can’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t read) but for the most part they automatically pick up on empathy and relating to others, while I have to consciously develop and practice those skills- the hard way.  I also have to train myself to narrow my focus, otherwise I would be kept awake by a star’s reflection in my window or by the whistle of a far off train.  The danger in this is if I turn down the perception knob too much or hone in on one tiny spot for too long I truly do shut off the rest of the world.  One of my greatest talents is the ability to ignore. I have to consciously keep a balance between the two extremes.   I can go from near-catatonia to panic attack in a heartbeat if I fail to keep the “need to shut down” and “need to experience everything” parts of my mind balanced. 

I have suspected for a long time that I have Asperger’s Syndrome- the description of Asperger’s explains much about my rather “abnormal” intellectual and social development.  I understand how easy it is to simply shut down.  It’s hard for me to describe, but I can see both how and why autistic people do shut down.  It’s easier than the constant fight to maintain the balance, and it beats panic attacks and/or manic rages.  Leave me alone in the ivory tower, because it’s a lot easier that way.  Yes, that I most certainly understand.

I remember all too well Mom used to backhand me for “being rude” or “staring” when I couldn’t see what was wrong with a.) stating the obvious, or b.) making an observation.  Then again I may have had some advantages in such a harsh upbringing.  Mom was a big believer in operant conditioning, and more specifically the negative reinforcement component of operant conditioning.  She would backhand you for a dirty look, or for missing a response whilst doing the Catholic calesthenics during Mass.  In her economy one’s behavior better be appropriate at all times, and to flying hell with any reason you might provide for behavior she deemed inappropriate.   My sisters had a different MO for beating the hell out of me, (unless they could beat me and make me scream so Mom would also beat me- for screaming) and they beat me a LOT more often than Mom ever needed to.  They beat the hell out of me because I was an easy target and it was something to do when Mom locked us outside and cranked up the volume on the TV.  Who knew sadism could be so entertaining?  Today they have video games for that, but not back in the 70’s. 

In my opinion, “telling it like it is,” is simply being honest.  You can be honest and tactful, but tact is an acquired skill, and not necessarily one that I excel in.  I acquired a good measure of tact with the quickness when I was about five- after I commented that one of Dad’s friends was getting really fat. Gotta love that operant conditioning. You will shut up after being backhanded into next week- but it didn’t change the fact that Dad’s buddy was getting downright lardy.  One of the nice things about cougardom is that I don’t have to be as tactful as I was required to be when I was five.  Age buys one at least a slight bit of gravitas in some ways.  I can call a lard ass a lard ass and get away with it, though if I must comment on someone’s superfluous girth, I generally just say “large” and move on.  I’m not consciously trying to be rude, but I do call it as I see it.  I can make commentary as much as I want to at my age without having to be as paranoid about offending people. 

One of the reasons I really hate political correctness is that it gives people excuses to be wussies.  I was never allowed to simply follow the path of least resistance and shut myself down to the point of being cloistered away in a padded room with a stack of adult diapers (though I think I would actually have to leave my little private enclave to at least use the toilet and bathe) and vast selection of reading material.  No one catered to me.  I had to adjust to everyone else and if I didn’t like it, it was tough titty.  I was held to a higher standard because of my IQ scores, with no mercy or accommodation for my motor deficits or emotional and social deficits.  My family forced me to be social and to function in the neurotypical world whether I wanted to or not.  I was not given the choice to withdraw from human interaction.  The best metaphor I can think of is that I was thrown in the pool and left to sink or swim.  No water wings, no instruction, no floatie for me.  Use what you have and figure it out.  I probably could have done without all the beatings and likely the attempts at ballet lessons too, but for the most part I don’t think that I would have the ability to function in the “normal” world today had I not been forced to do so. Sadly, today no one has the audacity to require kids to adjust and to learn how to navigate the world with the wiring they’ve been given. 

Granted, I am probably not an exemplary picture of mental health.  I freely admit I have Issues.  Then again, had I not been thrown into the fire I can guarantee my Issues would be far more profound and limiting.

So, just shut up and make it work.  That’s what has to be done sometimes.

Government, Unions and Common Sense- Finally?

 I’ve said it many times.  I am not a fan of Obama.  I think he is the worst American President in history so far- so much so that he makes Jimmy Carter look good, and almost makes Bill Clinton look great.  That is not meant as praise for either Carter or Clinton- they were both abysmal, and they both did tremendous amounts of damage.  My comparison is meant to illustrate just how much worse Obama is when compared to either Carter or Clinton.   I am also not a fan of forced unionism.  My disdain for unions is not  primarily a conservative or a Republican thing.  I am both a conservative and a Republican, for a host of good reasons, but my opposition to forced unionism comes from what I witnessed first hand growing up. 

I know that every story has two sides.  I also know that there were myriad factors that went into the death of manufacturing in the Rust Belt- foreign competition, poor management practices, the cost of materials, the oil crisis, and even environmental issues.  But the most visible and direct contribution to the failure of heavy manufacturing in Ohio can be traced back to fear of union violence and actual incidents of union violence that took place.

I don’t have a problem with a person’s choice to organize with others of like mind.   There is strength in numbers and there are times when it is both necessary and commendable to stand up for basic human decency.  There was a time when unions had a good purpose- to ensure that workers had decent working conditions and fair wages.  Had employers seen their employees as assets that need to be maintained and grown rather than as being expendable or disposable, there would never had been a need for workers to organize to begin with.  Ultimately the root cause of union abuse goes back to poor management practices.  Every action has a reaction.  The reaction to poor working conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries evolved throughout the second half of the 20th century and became a monster- especially in states such as Ohio that allow forced unionism. 

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton, 1887)

For those who don’t know how forced unionism works, basically what happens is that a shop or a government agency, etc. holds an election and votes to see if a majority of people in that workplace want to be a part of a union or not.  Even those who voted against the union must either join or pay the union a fee (up to the cost of full union dues) for “collective bargaining services.”  So even those who are ideologically or morally opposed to what the union stands for, and who are opposed to who the union contributes financially toward are forced to support it- even if they don’t technically join.

I have argued for years that forced unionism violates the 13th Amendment (no involuntary servitude) by forcing people to pay into an organization as a condition of employment.  In many cases workers’ 1st Amendment rights are violated as well, as many (though not all) unions contribute to organizations and causes that many are morally opposed to.  For instance, a union’s support of “pro-choice” (I think pro-death is more accurate, but I digress) candidates (the Democratic party in general…) and contributions to far-left organizations such as NARAL or GLAAD may be seen as being morally wrong by Catholics and most other Christians.  Yet a large part of their union dues are being funneled into dark places that have little or nothing to do with “collective bargaining” and into causes they would never voluntarily contribute to.

Another side of union corruption and graft is in the wrongful manipulation and exploitation of employers, especially in the public sector, when the employer is a branch of government.  Everyone has heard the legends of grandiose pay plans, three people paid to do one job inefficiently, health insurance benefits that rival those of Congress, and paid leaves and vacations that would make a sane person wonder if any work ever gets done. 

I am all for an honest wage for honest work.  I am all for people being able to get the health care they need- without having to do what I do, which is decide from week to week if I can have groceries or scripts, and skimping or just plain going without certain things because I can’t afford them.  The problem I have is that people like me are (involuntarily) forced to pay not just for government waste and redundancy in human resources, but for the entire welfare state too- and as a result, people like me go without things like scripts, or food, or underwear that don’t look like the dogs played tug-of-war with them, that they need- so that some people can get their food, scripts, glasses, cell phones, fancy designer sneakers, and medical devices (including pecker pumps??) for free.

The bottom line here is a simple economics lesson.  You can’t pay someone more than they’re worth.  In order to pay an employee $5, you need to get at least $5 worth of work out of that employee.  That sounds obvious, but in reality it doesn’t always happen, especially when there is no accountability and no structure in place to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly.   Part of the problem in the public sector is that many (though by no means all) jobs are grossly overpaid.  The taxpayer is being overcharged for the benefit or the service offered, and in the grand scheme of things, as in the private sector, this cannot be sustained. 

I have often wondered why there is such opposition to Right-to-Work, in which an individual chooses for him or herself whether he or she wants to belong to or pay into a union.  If unions are so great, then why is there so much legislation and so many loopholes in the law to shelter them?  If everyone wanted to be in the union, then why would anyone be required to join or to pay into them?

Elected officials and others within the government bureaucracy have forgotten that it is the private sector who picks up their tab.  The private sector is tapped out.  Those of us who keep the private sector running are tapped out.  Business fails to be competitive in part because so much is exacted out of business from government in the forms of excessive regulation and taxation. 

As much as the lunatic fringe in NE Ohio is screaming, I am convinced that our new Governor has struck a nerve.  Say what one will about Kasich- he can be rude and crass, and he’s definitely not “warm and fuzzy”- but finally, about 40 years late  (late is better than never!) we have someone in public office willing to address the obvious, and who is not owned by the unions.   The main question I have at this late hour is whether or not Ohio’s manufacturing cities are too far gone to save.  I watched my hometown shrink in size by more than half over the span of a decade as I was growing up.  I drive past the ghosts of what were once world-renowned manufacturing companies every time I go back home.   The images- and the ruined lives- haunt me.

There has to be some common sense injected into government.  Taming the public service unions is the first step. 

What the media and the common person have lost sight of is that nothing is free.  Taxpayers- people like me- are paying for the salaries, perks and benefits of government workers.  Government is not an entity and means in and of itself.  It needs the private sector to survive, and the private sector has been sucked dry.  Anyone who doesn’t believe that, I can take you on a nice little tour of the industrial ruins of Marion that might change your mind. It may not be popular with some, but the beast that government on all levels has become must be restrained.

This was once part of the Marion Power Shovel assembly line, etc.  It extended for almost five miles down the west end of town, and one can still see most of the ruins of it today.  Someday, before even more of it decays and is hauled away, I need to take a walking tour and take some close up pics.  It really was quite an amazing thing at one time.

Squirrels in the Family Tree, the Cat Lady, and Everyone Has an Uncle Bob

Every family has its skeletons in the closet.  This is an encouragement to me, knowing I have ancestors who were crazier than I am.  Then again, heredity explains a lot.

Part of the fun in genealogy research is finding all the squirrels in the family tree, and I’m discovering I have more than my fair share in mine.  It’s been a bit of an adventure finding out which family members had issues with mental illness and to what degree.  Let’s see, for starters, Mom is bi-polar.  Her biological father was certifiably crazy- most likely he was bi-polar (with an emphasis on bizarre manic episodes) also as well as being an incorrigible alcoholic.  He died at age 53 of cirrhosis of the liver.  Thankfully Mom never had a taste for liquor.   Mom didn’t need alcohol to go off in a frenzy.  Her manic episodes were bad enough without it.

Mom and her biological father are not the only ones by a long shot though.  One of my great-uncles was institutionalized most of his adult life, after he had a severe head injury while working for the railroad. It was really quite tragic.  Oddly enough on his death certificate the cause of death was listed as pneumonia resulting from “Huntington’s Chorea,” or Huntington’s Disease, which is (99% of the time) a genetic disease.  In almost all instances, one of your parents has to have it in order for you to get it.  He was 46  when he died, but neither of his parents had it.  However, the tremors, violent outbursts and general insanity this poor guy suffered from was more than likely connected with brain damage.  I would be curious to find out, but I would guess that rather than Huntington’s Disease, he probably had damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. That wasn’t inherited- which is sort of a relief, but still sad.

Alcoholism is a big character flaw on both sides of my family.  My great-grandfather and another great uncle were notorious for boozing.  Being a drunk isn’t necessarily what I would call mental illness, but way too many drunks drink to drown their depression and despair.  I was enough of a binge drinker in my youth, but thank God the whole binge drinking thing lost its charm for me.  Dad for all practical purposes is a tee-totaler (he likes a very occasional beer) and Mom is a complete tee-totaler, so we never really had to deal with alcohol at home except when my oldest sister came home wasted from time to time in high school.   I was smart enough to crash where I partied when I got wasted.  She is still somewhat of a casual drinker but not a real boozehound.  Of course Mom thinks drinking a social beer now and then will turn you into a lush, but it really depends on the person.  If you’re drinking every night or downright getting stupid with the binge drinking then you need to evaluate your relationship with booze.  I don’t have much use for it other than a very occasional glass of wine.

Then there are the relatives you just don’t want to claim because their behavior makes you really wonder how much DNA you share with them.  I had some really interesting ones.  Aunt Frances, for instance, was a 400# cat lady with a deep disdain for all things foreign (especially my old Subaru,) a loathing of ear piercings and earrings (thankfully she never got to see Steve-0’s 7/8 gauged earrings, or the SS helmet for that matter) and a general distrust of females who insist upon wearing makeup.   I have nothing against cats- I have three of them- but having thirty five of them wandering in and out of your house, eating you out of house and home and breeding uncontrollably is not the proper way to keep cats.  Sending half of your Social Security checks to Jimmy Swaggart probably wasn’t the best decision either, but she just couldn’t resist the televangelists when they appealed for cash.

Uncle Jack was actually one of my great-uncles.  He was a tiny dude, about 5’5″ and slightly built.  He had a withered hand, a taste for whiskey and he chain smoked unfiltered Pall Malls.  Every time I saw him, he always seemed to be either getting ready to go to jail for something or had just got out of jail for something.  He had some really hideous tattoos,  and used language that would make a trucker blush.

I had twin great-aunts- Glenna and Gwendolyn.  I don’t know for sure if they were identical twins or not, but they had the identical horrible bleach-blonde hair do.  I remember when Great-Grandma died (their mother) they got in a fist fight over her stuff, none of it worth a whole lot.  Gwendolyn was married to Uncle Bob- the one with the nudie pics all over his garage- who gave my sister a Budweiser when she was six or seven, and who would look up girls’ dresses if he got the chance.  They had a miniature poodle named Jacques who liked to hump people’s legs and piss on everyone’s hub caps.  Jacques went to the groomer, had his nails painted blue, and always smelled like girly perfume.  Dad always wondered why anyone would prissify a male dog like that, but they were kind of strange.

Everyone has an Uncle Bob- the family pervert.  Thankfully I only got to experience Uncle Bob once a year or less (Dad didn’t want us kids to be around alcohol, especially after the Budweiser Incident) but that was enough.  Everyone wondered why I would not run up and give him a hug.  First of all I am not a hugger by nature.  I am very selective about who I want to hug even today.  As a child I tried to avoid physical contact as much as possible.  So be happy with a handshake- and I was that way with most people I encountered.  I’m not being rude, but I don’t want you looking up my dress or trying to slip me the tongue.  Something about the nudies on the garage walls creeped me out.

This is NOT the Subaru DL I had, but it is the same model.  This one is a 1978, mine was a ’79.  Mine was also red -or at least it was painted red at the factory, before it oxidized, rusted, and ended up covered in fiberglass body filler, primer, duct tape and bumper stickers.  Either not many of them were built, or they just couldn’t handle Rust Belt winters.  It took a lot of duct tape to hold those marker lights in the fenders.

Bumper Sticker Wisdom, Annoying People, and Staying Out of Mischief

I love it when I get a good pic of a good bumper sticker – or even better- multiples.  It’s not always easy to get pics from in the car, and I usually won’t even try unless I have the camera handy and I’m stopped at a light.

This one was probably the best one I was ever able to get a good pic of:

“Stop Bitching Start a Revolution” would have been good enough, but the I (heart) Vagina just sets off the whole mood of this young dude’s car.  I thought of Steve-o when I saw this, but I just can’t imagine Steve-o ever driving a distressed old Lumina.  I can’t imagine Steve-o driving anything domestic or automatic- but I can imagine him with either or both of these bumper stickers.  Had I seen these on either an old Accord or Integra then I really could believe it was his car.

This one is a good one too-

When I had my ’79 Subaru it was so covered in rust and primer that it became a game for me to try to put as many bumper stickers as humanly possible on it.  One came all the way from  St. Louis- KSHE 95, a rock/metal station whose mascot was a guitar playing pig.  I had a Journey sticker from the Frontiers tour, a Led Zep 4 sticker which was way cool, and a host of stickers with pithy sayings such as,  “I Liked Your Arrival, Let’s See Your Departure,”  “Zero to Sixty in Sixty Years” (very fitting for that poor Subaru with its 1.2 liter, carbureted, oil-leaking, high mileage engine) and “You’re Ugly and Your Mama Dresses You Funny.” That car was legendary, largely because it was so easy to spot, and because pieces fell off of it from time to time. Like the exhaust from the cat back for instance.  I had to wire that back up with coat hangers twice- once in the rain, which really sucked.  But at least I had a car.  None of my friends did.

Sadly I have no pics of that poor car to scan.  I wish I did, and if I ever find any I will be sure to scan and post them.

Today I think we hit the jackpot of annoying people.  Usually I try not to let people get on my nerves, because dealing with people when they’re being goofy is part of my job.  Today though, it seemed as if all the squirrels crawled out of the woodwork.

Yesterday I was in a rather vindictive mood.  I don’t know what happened to Old Thunder Thighs, but I don’t wish her any harm.  I do hope she has caught on to the cougar dress code by now.  Then again, she could make a killing at the nursing home.

It’s not just a truck, it’s a Dale Earnhardt Memorial Vehicle.  Never mind Dale’s been six feet under for the past ten years.  Let the Intimidator rest, OK?