Gross, Macabre and Just Plain Creepy

For a turd, Mr. Hankey is almost cute, but the concept of making turds into cartoon characters is sort of gross.  Leave it to the creators of South Park to take gross things and make them almost cute.  Then again, things scatological almost always engender at least a morbid curiosity, if not downright explosive laughter.  Farts, for instance are universally funny, especially if they come from a dog (When Clara farts she has to spin around and look for the source of the noise- a sort of the “smeller’s the feller” type give away- which makes a dog fart even more hilarious) or when they sound or smell explosive. 

Clara is beautiful, but her SBD’s (and the audible ones too) are truly deadly.  I don’t know if there is something particularly volatile in dog food (though with our girls at least, it could be that nasty old mutton) but dog farts are second only to old man diaper farts in the acridity of the noxious gas emitted.

Perhaps it is proof either that I am being honest with myself or that I’m just plain sophomoric and puerile at times, but most of the time for me gross=funny.  I’m old enough to remember the beginning of the gross toys- Slime and the Garbage Pail Kids.

Slime was always good for making fart noises with.  Mom, of course couldn’t stand it.  The GPK cards caused a wellspring of parental disgust, and could carry dire consequences should teachers catch you with them.  I thought it hilarious when one could actually buy school folders with the card designs on them.  Some teachers could care less and decided there were more worthy battles to fight, but others were so wigged out by anything GPK that you had to cover them up or get rid of them. 

Personally I think they should have been more worried with the teen pregnancy and drug abuse that were epidemic when I was in middle school and high school than to obsess with fart sounds or crude trading cards, but to each his or her own.  Sometimes you can only bear to fight the battles that you might have a chance of winning. 

Today there are a plethora of gross toys and macabre games out there.  I was mildly shocked when Steve-o decided I should watch him and his buddies play Call of Duty on that behemoth TV he bought under the pretense of “I need a bigger computer monitor.”  I know full well he’s not blind, and you would have to be legally blind to require a 42″ flat screen as a computer monitor (my fossil ass does just fine with a 15″ laptop, so he’s not shitting anyone) but at least he paid for the flat screen so I really can’t comment.  Anyway, Call of Duty is probably the most realistic video game I’ve ever seen.  It puts some of the 80’s slasher flicks to shame as far as the special effects. 

I think Steve-o’s favorite part of the game is that he can pretend to be a a Luftwaffe fighter pilot.  I know he knows the actual history, but I still can’t help but to rub it in.  The Germans lost.  Face it.  Superior technology doesn’t matter much when you lack the raw material, the logistics and the strategy to put the technology to good use.  Hitler is not a role model. 

I’ve said it many times.  I am not a physically demonstrative person.  There are people for whom it is perfectly natural to touch, hug, get right up in people’s faces, eat off each other’s plates, etc. and they think nothing of it.  Then there are those, like me, who put a premium on maintaining personal space.  I like to enjoy my own private entree with my own private silverware all to myself, as well as I prefer to enjoy my own private beverage in my own private glass, bottle or mug, without sharing bodily fluids or wayward bacteria with others.

I don’t hug on strangers.  To me “stranger” is defined as a non-blood relative who I am not married to and who is not a very close friend.  I am not even terribly cool with hugging on blood relatives except when hugging is required in a social setting.  I don’t enjoy it, but I will hug when politeness dictates that I should.

There are people like my mother who hug anyone, anywhere, for pretty much any reason, which to me is just plain creepy. It’s as bad as letting other people drink off your cup.  I can’t even let my own kid do that.  Or the dogs for that matter.

I do think that over all the world has more huggers than non-huggers if this article’s feedback- “Are You a Hugger- is any indication.  I still think random hugging is creepy, even though my take on hugging may be a minority stance.

Just do the world a favor and know what you’re protesting before you decide to “occupy” anything more lofty than a portajohn.

Truly Tasteless Holiday Decor, Stupid Parenting, and Gratuitous Self Pity

I have a pink Christmas tree, complete with pink lights.  Mom got it for me last year.  Believe me, I am putting it up.  Watch me go.

Like most people, I have a deep ambivalence toward the holiday season.  I enjoy the decorations – especially tacky ones– but I sincerely abhor crowds, especially when all I’m trying to do is get basic grocery staples or scripts and I have to fight off the unwashed hordes.

I don’t like feeling as if I have to do all kinds of shopping either. My relatives already have way too much crap they don’t need.  I do too.  Please forgo the kitschy crud and either give me a gift card (Target, Kroger’s or Speedway, especially) or even cash.  That way I can get something I need rather than another hideous green sweater, or hinky nasty dinky earrings that I will never wear.  I hate shopping unless I can do it online. Whoever isn’t happy with a gift card and/or what I can manage to get ordered online, sorry about your luck.

The cooking business is actually something I enjoy as long as I have the time to do it.  My grandmothers ensured that I was proficient with the culinary arts (at least the old-time redneck version thereof) so there will be no shortage of such holiday favorites as pumpkin, apple and chocolate cream pies, scalloped potatoes, turkey-and- dressing, homemade gravy, homemade noodles, baked mac and cheese, cheeseballs, etc.  I like to serve the old-time comfort food.   If other people want to bring funky stuff like spinach casserole (not bad, really) or hummus (got to love the extra garlic version) that’s cool- I am not a food snob and will try just about anything once, but make sure the staples are covered.  I would hate to see Dad disappointed because there were no scalloped potatoes or reduced sugar chocolate cream pie, or have the nieces and nephews wonder why I didn’t bring the baked mac-n-cheese.  Lasagna is lovely (I made both red and white lasagna Sunday night that is divine if I say so myself) but it’s not a substitute for turkey with homemade dressing and gravy. 

Although I have rather diverse and eclectic tastes in food, there are some items commonly served around the holidays that I can do without.  I find fruit cake to be just plain vile.  I can’t eat it.  Fruit cake might as well be head cheese or pigs’ feet, which are two items that I have also tried and find positively gut-wrenchingly disgusting.  I’m also not a real big fan of green bean casserole.  I like the stuff that goes in it, but there’s just something about the combination of green beans, mushroom soup and deep fried onions that doesn’t thrill me.  I can eat it, but it isn’t something I find imperative to serve.  Sweet  potatoes (some people call them yams) are another item that I can do without.  Since I am diabetic I can beg off the candied yams (gross, gross, gross) without too much trouble. 

Yesterday’s news proved yet again that there is no shortage of the second most common element in the universe: stupidity.  Suffice to say that anyone stupid enough to leave one’s offspring in one’s (running) car whilst running into a convenience store to get smokes really shouldn’t be left alone with children.  I am glad the mother got her little boy back safely, but I’ll bet that’s the last time she will leave him alone with Baby Daddy for a long time.   I was certainly no shining example of superlative parenting, but I never left my kid alone in a running car regardless of whether or not he was strapped into a car seat- no matter how bad I needed smokes.

Ironically, Steve-o, in preparing for his upcoming role as Baby Daddy, seems to be a tad bit on the OCD side of things. He’s reminding me a bit of Mom and her Clorox obsession.  When Steve-o was a newborn (and a large, robust one at that) Mom tried to Clorox everything that came remotely close to him.  I swear she bathed him five times a day and changed his (freshly Clorox’d) clothes on the hour, every hour.  His dire concern with everything being Just Right and Super Clean for his little girl is not only reminiscent of Mom and her fussiness with the POMC, but it’s also richly hilarious- considering that he ran from Mom screaming bloody murder when she chased him down in her feeble attempts to cut through all the little-boy crusty filth with wet wipes and/or Kleenex.   He is in for a rude awakening.  Tee-hee.

I am wondering just how long it will take him to realize that his little girl is not made of porcelain, that baby puke and poop both stain and reek, and there is no known medical explanation as to why a two year old can extract an infinite length of thick green snot streamer from his/her nose.  

I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun, but I can’t wait until my grandchild showers him in a spray of snot, spit and half-eaten Cheerios.  Children are many things, but filthy is universal. You just haven’t lived until you have been showered, caked and drenched with the offal emanating from your offspring.

I must really be becoming my mother now that I am taking delight in the same phrase she liked to use: “Wait until you have kids.”  I have to remember to send Steve-o a copy of the news article above as a cautionary tale.  Never leave the kid in the car (especially with the car running) when you run to the shop-and-rob to get smokes.

Parenting taught me a few interesting lessons, above and beyond the average toddler’s infinite capacity to generate toxic waste of divers kinds.  I learned you can drown out a screaming kid pretty well by cranking up Led Zeppelin and/or Ozzy.   I also learned that until the kid’s about sixteen or so, while it’s rude, it’s often necessary to wheel the grocery cart down the middle of the aisle, and to inspect the contents often- unless you want to explain to the cashier why you don’t want  the 15 boxes of Pop-Tarts, the economy pack of extra-heavy duty disposable douche, the “For Her Pleasure” multi-colored condom assortment, and the six tubes of Prep-H that magically appeared in your cart.

I guess I really shouldn’t feel too sorry for myself.  It could be a whole lot worse.

For All the Saints, Fanning the Flames, and a Limited Time Offer

I know that here lately I have been rather drawn to the macabre.  It seems that around Halloween (when the seemingly endless Central Ohio winter effectively begins) and also toward the end of February (when the even more depressing season of Snowbooger Grey sets in) I get obsessed with the issue of mortality- mine, and that of others. 

It doesn’t help that Saturday I had to attend the wake (and yes, it was an actual Irish Catholic wake, complete with noise, a plethora of friends, relatives and assorted others, enough food for an army and then some, and plenty of whiskey and beer) of a dear older lady who I was both surprised and delighted to call a friend.  Then Sunday (which had almost completely slipped my mind) was All Saints’, which is one of the hardest days of the year for me to go to church.  I need to do that- especially on the difficult days- but it’s very hard for me to make a conscious effort when I know I will be streaming tears uncontrollably the whole time.  I don’t handle public displays of emotion well at all.  The whole idea behind All Saints’ is to remember those who have gone before us, which has been especially difficult for me since Grandma died. 

Sadly, I don’t spend enough time with people I care about.  I would have liked to have talked with her one more time, but I missed the opportunity.  I am reminded yet again how temporary life is, and how the people I want to see and talk with a little while longer might not be there the next time I think of them.

It might seem strange, for someone like me who isn’t terribly social and isn’t really into superficialities, that I am so neglectful of the very few close relationships I have.  It’s actually rather pathetic that I avoid human contact to such an extreme.  I have enough excuses- overwork and babysitting Jerry are probably the two biggest drains on my time and energy- but excuses are exactly that.  I don’t make the time.  Even though I do cherish people I deem to be friends, being around people wears me out.  I know it sounds superficial and selfish, but I really have to be intentional regarding who I socialize with, and with how much time I spend being in the company of others.  Otherwise I get stretched too thin and get emotionally and physically exhausted. 

Over the years I’ve discovered I need solitude not only to get my head straight and to make some sense of my fractured and often puzzling emotional life, but I also have a genuine physical need to take that ivory tower time.  Leave me alone and let me regenerate.  Often.  The bad thing is that I don’t get nearly enough opportunity for such regeneration, so I take it where I can get it.   Otherwise I will get physically ill, and end up being forced to stop and get away.

As much as I found it necessary to go to our friend’s wake, I paid for it in terms of just plain coming home depleted.  I don’t know if my exhaustion had to do with trying to keep Jerry out of too much trouble (he almost killed an entire 30 pack of Natties) or just from needing to get away from people for awhile.  Perhaps a combination of both?

Maybe I really am one of those people who would be better off out in the middle of nowhere with sparse company other than books, music and dogs.  It’s been way too long since I was able to be left alone long enough to read a novel (and I do have what promises to be a good novel on the way- 11-22-63 by Stephen King.)  It doesn’t take me long to read a novel – even Stephen King’s novels, which tend to be lengthy- but it seems I am constantly being interrupted with Jerry being unable to get his own pills, being unable to shut up late at night, and constantly whining about his shirts or this or that or the other thing. 

Maybe it’s not fair of me to expect Jerry to take care of himself like a normal adult.  Sadly I have been party to his Helplessman routine for many years, so how can I expect him to take his own pills, iron his own shirts, and keep himself from drowning in the toilet when he’s shitfaced?

I know I am no paragon of virtue by a long shot, but I admit I get tired of the babysitting.  It’s hard to put my foot down because Jerry is incredibly emotionally fragile.  He gets on my nerves, yes, but he’s a lot worse when he gets either shitfaced and/or in temper tantrum mode.  Sadly, he has learned (just like a toddler) that the tirades are a form of blackmail.  “Appease me or I’ll go off again” is the mentality.  While I know that it’s a fruitless endeavor to keep on feeding alligators, way too much of the time I simply cave in and let him have what he wants so he will shut up.  Especially if I’m tired and/or he’s drunk.  The irony here is that in the end I’m just rewarding him for whining.  Unlike a toddler, when Jerry starts in with the whining and tirades, I can’t take him to the ladies’ room and warm his behind.

I know all too well that life is a limited time offer.  I shouldn’t be so harsh with Jerry, even though I lose my patience with the helpless act and with the gambling and drinking.  I know I should cherish whatever time we have even though he does try my patience and dealing with his behavior can be quite draining.

I’ll have time to sleep when I’m dead.  Hopefully somewhere along the way I’ll find time for the Stephen King novel.

Matters of the Heart, Nostalgia, Jealousy, and Wishful Thinking

I seldom allow myself to get caught up in sappy romanticism, but I continue to watch the unfolding Neal Schon/Michaela Salahi affair in sort of the same attitude as Central Ohio drivers who can’t help but to slow down (or stop entirely) to gawk at the daily freeway carnage.  I don’t want to watch- and it makes me feel a bit dirty and voyeuristic doing so- but in a twisted sort of way I can’t help myself.

The fact that Neal Schon is one of my most favorite musicians doesn’t help here.  If he were just an aging, mousy little-big-man – who didn’t pretty much write the soundtrack behind most of my life, I wouldn’t care.  I normally don’t give a rat’s ass who celebrities are, let alone who celebrities are screwing.  I try not to remember that most other people actually get some from time to time.  But the story behind this dalliance strikes a chord.

It’s easy to step back and brand Michaela as a “groupie slut” but I identify with her storyline more than I would like to admit.  I know what it is to be a largely ignored, unloved wife.  I can’t claim to either be attractive or to have as attractive or interesting (or wealthy) past lovers as Neal Schon, but I do admit that if I were given the right offer, hell, if I were shown the least bit of affection, I could see myself doing the same thing.  Especially if the offer involved being backstage with Journey and getting warmed up in Neal Schon’s bed every night.

I don’t see the opportunity arising for me, as I have all the sex appeal of a mutant troll.   I gave up on all the fairy tale BS back when I was 13. My best friend swore I would die an old maid, and my sister informed me that I might as well resign myself to trolling for dates at the blind school if I ever wanted a man.   If I looked like Michaela, I would have more to choose from besides men with either deep appearance, hygiene and/or deep psychological abnormalities. I wouldn’t put up with any shit from a man either. I might actually stand a chance of believing in all that knight in shining armor business, but in order to go fishing you have to have bait, and I’ve already gotten as good as my pathetic bait will ever attract. Jerry does bathe, and he does have hair and teeth. Hygiene (at least personal hygiene) isn’t his major malfunction.  Bonus.  Now if he weren’t raised by wolves (and if he hadn’t done all those drugs back in the 70’s and 80’s) he might have turned out OK, but I can’t ask for mental or emotional stability and regular bathing.  That would be out of my league. Last night’s drunken tirade was regarding how he thought the new shampoo I got him resembled horse jizz and that he wasn’t going to shampoo his hair with jizz.   It was mildly funny, but now I have to go back to CVS and get him the two-in-one Pantene he’s used to instead of the “Hair Thickening Formula for Men By L’Oreal,” that apparently is a bit too jizzy for his majesty’s liking. Such is my fate.  Some women get Neal Schon playing a special lead solo for their birthday, while I get the horse jizz tirade.

If I did have appropriate bait, or even more humanoid proportions, I might still want to pick one taller than me.(easy enough when you’re only 5’4″,and even Jerry is 5’10”)  I think Michaela must be at least 6’6″, so for her, finding a taller man might not be terribly easy to do.  It is kind of funny that Neal is only about 5’7″- and her height makes his shortness painfully obvious.

However, I could get past a guy being extremely short if he’s 1. the finest living guitarist in the world, and 2. able to buy me lingerie on Rodeo Drive.  I might even tell a few people what I think about their opinions.

I could overlook a LOT if a guy were a non-smoker, non-drinker who could actually pick his own whitey tighties up off the floor, but I know I am asking way too much here.

Admittedly I did feel a twinge of jealousy- not so much over Neal and Michaela – Neal Schon is way, way, way out of my pathetic league, but because no man will ever look at me in that way.  Granted, their relationship may be a tempest in a teapot, but it’s a hell of a ride while it lasts.  Might as well be happy and let them enjoy it.  Anyone who is fortunate to find love, if even for a moment, should be allowed to make the most of it.   Those of us who live in the world of, “Is he passed out on the john again?” can only envy you from afar. 

I can’t say that I could condemn either one of them.  If anything it proves that they’re only human, and nobody really knows the story under the surface.  Of course this affair may turn out to be shallow, temporary and sleazy, but whose business is that?  Perhaps some of my own jealousy is knowing that Other People have fantasies come true, when I come home only to wonder if Jerry will get drunk and stupid enough to wet the bathroom floor again.

Jerry is consistent though.  I know sort of what to expect, so he scores one for predictability.