Men in …Dresses?, and Other Bad 1970s Clothing, Nasty Things in Jell-O, and Lingerie Musings

 

kaftans-386x699What self-respecting non-terrorist dude would wear these nighties? These outfits call for an immediate forfeiture of one’s Man Card, and/or enlistment in ISIS.

bad-mens-fashions-70s-seventies-clothes-funny-007

Maybe this explains rappers? Maybe the lace-up pants with the waistline at the titty nipples explain the sagger trend of the 90s and beyond?  Never again will we have BATHROOM SITUATIONS!  You know, the bathroom situations that ensue when nature calls and one cannot drop one’s pants quickly enough to direct the shit shower cleanly into the toilet bowl.  The opposite problem is equally disturbing though.  I don’t want a grown man shitting himself because he can’t untie his pants fast enough, but I also don’t want to see a grown man’s hairy crack because his waistband is under his ass cheeks.

I must say platform shoes for men are actually not a bad idea, at least for short men.  Dad’s only 5’6″ and he used to have some platform shoes, back in maybe 1976, until the dog decided her happy ass needed something to chew on. Then again, that dog was an inbred ankle biter who lived to be 16 (though blind and toothless and probably quite senile at the end.) Sad to say no one knows of her exact demise except that Dad let her out one night and she never came back.  If I know the redneck nation here in Marion, I would assume someone was driving around drunk and or stoned and hit the poor old thing as she wandered around in the middle of the road and didn’t know it.  She was probably all of about fifteen pounds and had the IQ of paint.  I love dogs, but this one was not the sharpest tool in the shed.

As far as the shoes, though their life was short, they did help keep him from getting Jackie smacked – like Benny Hill would smack poor Jackie- all the time.

jackie benny hill

Man, I loved Benny Hill.  I love British humor (or should I spell it humour) precisely because of the innuendo and double entendre.  I guess I can be easily entertained.

gross jello salad

1950s food was surprisingly dismal, at least from some of the pictures and recipes I’ve found.  I think I understand why people back in the day were so bloody thin.  Putting nasty things like celery (gag) and olives stuffed with pimentos that look like demented eyeballs (barf) and what looks to be squares of cheddar cheese (? good on their own, but not in this context) in lime Jell-O and then garnishing it with tomato wedges (the only thing that looks remotely edible here) and wilty lettuce is just plain gross. I would lose a lot of weight if this were the only thing I were permitted to eat.  I could probably even wear one of those June Cleaver dresses that also requires wearing a long line bra and girdle- and still be able to breathe- if I could only eat nasty stuff like this.

fifties girdlesI think I’d almost rather die than be corseted like this, even though it does make dresses look a hell of a lot better.  My grandmother used to be a lingerie buyer for a swanky department store.  She sold this stuff.  Wore this stuff.  Fitted people for this stuff.  I have worn this stuff only on special occasions and it’s hard to ward off both hypoxia and heat stroke wearing this stuff.  It’s hot and you can’t breathe worth a damn, let alone move. And the likelihood of having BATHROOM SITUATIONS is just as bad as with the lace-up pants, or with Levi’s 501s, which have button flies.  Yay.  Not to mention it’s hell on my nails.

At my age I need to be able to get to the crapper and drop my drawers with a minimum of pomp and circumstance.

 

Things That Might Be Right With the World, Absolute Truth, and the Arrogance of Supposition

philosoraptor-alternate-realities

I listened to an interesting theological / philosophical discussion today regarding pre-modernism, modernism, and post-modernism this morning.  Post-modern thinking explains much of the downright irrational insanity rampant in society today. I can’t find myself signing on to the post-modern paradigm even though most of the rest of the world already has.  This must be where the media gets the insanity that there are seventy-nine different genders, and that some men get periods.  (I might argue the PMS theory, but if I did, I would have to posit that men have PMS all month long.  Men are actually more emotional and less adaptive to change than women, at least in my experience, although I really don’t want to get into that debate.)

drag queen

There is such a thing as absolute truth.  As my illustrious offspring (who is even more of a rational, practical type than I) will tell you, nobody gets away with breaking the law of gravity, and if you think you’re the exception, you’re going to have a bad time.

I do understand the value of asking questions and of questioning authority- especially today.  I have a lot of doubts regarding the “voices of authority,” especially in the media and in science, and I think my trepidation is warranted.  Being the cynic that I normally am, it’s logical for me to question things that fail to make sense.  It probably doesn’t help that I am very much a literal thinker.  I tend to see things in black and white.  I know the gray areas are there, but I’m not much for living in them.

When I see hoof prints on a farm, I’m going to act on the supposition that the resident equines are horses rather than zebras.

horse

This being said, I am not against change simply because it’s something new to learn.  I am against change that is enacted simply for the novelty of it, or change to avoid offending “special snowflake” sensitivities.

I say again, there is absolute truth. Three does not equal five no matter what kind of argument is put forth. Absolutes don’t change no matter how badly we wish they would. There are boundaries that cannot be crossed, and laws (like the law of gravity) that cannot be broken.  There are near infinite kinds of idolatry conceived in mankind’s denial of truth and rebellion against it.  In the wake of the Fall it seems all we can do is set up substitute systems that are destined to fail because they are built on lies and human hubris.

Of the three philosophic worldviews (pre-modernism, modernism and post-modernism) I would have to categorize myself as subscribing to modernity (the post-modern deconstruction of truth and complete dearth of certainty is an utterly distasteful concept to me) for most of my life.  I wanted to believe in the god of Science.  I wanted to latch on to the Brave New World.  For seven years of my life I tried to say to myself, There Is No God.  By the grace of God, He smacked me down and made me realize that it’s not my world, it’s His.  I am not the creator, I am not the captain of my soul, and I am not in control. Here are more corollaries of absolute truth, courtesy of the pre-modern world- or more accurately, courtesy of the Creator, who does not have to honor man-made constructs.

Cross

The pendulum of popular opinion will reach its shift point eventually.  As was demonstrated in the farce that was the Obama administration (no matter how rosy a picture the media tried to paint) the reality was the Emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes.  There was no substance to that regime and no purpose to it except maybe as a warning against eliminating standards and ignoring national borders. The post-modern theory that there is no reality and there are no absolutes is just as nonsensical and illogical as a grown man thinking he is adorned in finery when he’s naked as a jay bird.

fail

I wonder what’s going to happen when boys who think they’re girls (and vice versa) realize that the reality of biology is an absolute.

I wonder if the Western world will realize (in time) that toxic ideologies do exist, and that Islam is not a “religion of peace,” but in reality it is a form of fascism more extreme than Nazism hiding behind a false religion.

I wonder if future generations might discover the reality of Absolute Truth and forgo the social experiments.

 

Deliver Me from the Kia of Death, Making Sarcasm Out of Pretty Much Everything…

2003 Kia OptimaI could only wish that the unfortunate 2003 Kia across the street were in this good of condition.  Someone recently decided to use its roof as a trampoline, and in the process broke out the back glass – which can’t be replaced because the roof rail is bent- so the back glass consists of that plastic people use in the winter if they don’t have storm windows, and duct tape.  Lots of duct tape.  I feel sorry for her for having to drive it.  The only cure for this thing is C4. Then again, when I see the volume of Natty cans in the yard and around their fire pit on Saturday and Sunday mornings, I understand.  All. Too. Well. She’s living la vida drunksitter.  Both her husband and her father-in-law make Jerry look like an amateur at drunk-n-stupid random destruction. Jerry destroyed stuff, yes, but even in his drunken stupidity, deep in that primal, reptilian part of his brain, he knew that trashing my car was a Really Bad Idea.  Apparently this tipsy redneck has discovered, the hard way, that if you want to go car surfing, you need something with a sturdier roof than an aged Kia Optima.  I hope she kicked his ass. She is twice his size.

put_up_the_pool_januaryThis is the same guy who put up the pool on January 5.  FYI: Central Ohio’s average January high temperature is 23°. Yes. Fahrenheit.  Then again this is the same rocket scientist, in the same pool,  who passed out on a floatie in the middle of the pool , surrounded by empty Natty cans, in the heat of the day, on a 90° (also Fahrenheit) day in the middle of July for a few hours. When all was said and done,  he was just about this RED.

I know when the Kia of death starts up.  It does actually start and run consistently which must be considered a plus if it’s the only thing one has to drive. It gets fired up at 5:55 AM every morning, just as I am about to get the Corolla out of the garage and get on my way.  It has a cracked exhaust manifold (and yes, I have been around things automotive long enough to know that sound) and makes about as much noise as something with a four cylinder engine possibly can. It could wake the dead.  It’s even louder than the old man’s Harley, and that’s saying a lot considering he can usually be spotted sporting t-shirts that have such pithy sayings as, “Loud Pipes Save Lives,” or “Gas, Grass or Ass, No One Rides for Free.”

I really don’t mind my redneck neighbors too much as long as they leave me alone and don’t repeat the shower of bottle rockets on my roof when the 4th of July rolls around. I don’t care if you burn down your house- after all, arson is sort of a tradition on the west side- but don’t burn mine down.  I do have homeowner’s insurance (and it’s not cheap, because of all you firebugs out there) but I don’t want to have to use it.  I hate moving and I have sworn not to do it again, Lord willing.

I don’t find much humor in the drunk and stupid episodes even though I am not the one living that nightmare anymore.  I might have a twinge of schadenfreude when I see the poor woman across the street dragging her man in off the front lawn when he’s passed out, but it’s more like a thankfulness that this time it’s not me cleaning up the mess and doing the dragging.

We are fast approaching Sun’s Out Guns Out season.  This means large, pasty white people are going to be wandering about outside in scandalous states of un- and ill- dress.

walmartShe has some nice tats. I have tats too, so I shouldn’t talk. Just no names, and no poorly drawn Pitbulls…

 

 

Not Like the Others…Autistic Kids Will Be Autistic Adults

not_like_the_others.jpg

I have shared some insights on what it is to go through life as an autistic person from time to time. It’s funny because there is so much being said and done about accommodating children on the ASD spectrum but there is next to nothing said about what happens to these children as they become adults.

I sincerely understand what challenges autistic kids go through and what sheer hell growing up on the spectrum is, especially when you know you don’t belong, and no one, especially your own parents, knows what to do with you.

In their defense, they tried. Doctors had no answers. All they could say about the 2 year old who could read the dictionary but did not want to be touched, who was terrified of anyone who was not an immediate family member, was plagued by night terrors and screaming fits, and could not walk or run properly without falling, was I had “congenital gross motor deficits.” Physical therapy for my gross motor deficits was nominally helpful, as was vision correction. I am coordinated enough to drive a manual shift car and walk across a room without falling. I eventually got to where I could ride a bike and rollerskate, but much later than most kids and not as proficiently. Nothing anyone could do could assuage my anxiety and social ineptitude. I have worked with psychologists and counselors (some good, some bad, and some positively abysmal) but to this day I still struggle with both anxiety and social ineptitude. I have had to build my own roadmaps and navigate my own way.

Medication (Prozac and Catapres, prescribed by a one time family doctor who had some understanding of anxiety, depression and autism) and educating myself have been helpful in this endeavor, but there is no “manual.” There simply isn’t much help out there for people like me.

I had to figure out how to script, how to mask, and how to put up a good front to survive. It’s good that the bullying and mocking isn’t as widely tolerated (and sometimes even encouraged) as it was in my youth. Perhaps there are ill-coordinated, awkward, badly dressed, terrified, myopic, autistic girls like I was who don’t get thrown in the bushes or tossed head first into the trash cans every morning at school. That would be a start.

However well intentioned early intervention and active assistance for autistic children may be, the challenges and the social dystopia don’t disappear when one turns 18. If anything, life becomes more painful and complicated and isolated because there is a dearth of help or advice for autistic adults.

I’m 50 years old. I grew up in a poor backwater town where educational resources were sparse at best. On my first day of second grade the teachers were arguing in the hall because neither of them wanted me in their class, and both claimed that the principal had promised each one I would not be in either teacher’s class. Eventually they came to an agreement, in which the teacher with the least seniority had to take me. I am hyperlexic and could read before I was two years old. The teachers in elementary school were intimidated by my vocabulary and reading ability. They didn’t know what to do with my constant freakouts- like when bees or wasps would fly in the room and I would lose it in terror at the sight of flying insects. They had no idea what to do with me, and in retrospect I can see that my mere presence freaked them out. I don’t blame them. I wasn’t normal. I didn’t look normal and I didn’t act normal. I hated (and still have trouble with) maintaining eye contact with people. I don’t like being touched.

I have no explanation for my reading ability or the compulsion to read everything I could find in print, but I am thankful that I was verbal at a young age. I was probably spared a great deal of injury and abuse simply because I could speak out to some degree.

Even though I was verbal and quite literate very early, I still have issues processing emotions and making my needs known- or even knowing whether or not my needs are valid or appropriate. My constant and intense anxiety (which has not gone away with age) makes it difficult for me to communicate when I am stressed. I was easily intimidated and was routinely beaten up by my older sisters and kids at school. I was an easy target. The terror, insecurity and reticence to speak out or to defend myself remains.

My own mother would backhand me for “staring” when she thought I was too focused on someone or something, or for being “rude” for not hugging and kissing on people who were her friends, but who I didn’t know from Adam’s house cat. Physical contact of any kind is uncomfortable for me unless it involves a close family member (and then only in certain situations)- or a dog. My aversion to physical contact has gotten even more acute with age.

To make my childhood even more fun I had chronic health issues-including constant respiratory infections and a bout of rheumatic fever that has led to heart arrhythmia, joint damage and constant pain. I have ongoing difficulty with spatial perception which I am sure contributes to my poor gross motor skills.

On the plus side I have managed to stay gainfully employed since I was 16, my son is thankfully neurotypical and doesn’t have my wiring issues. But life on the spectrum is different. It’s hard to know where you stand with other people.

William Shakespeare once wrote,“All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.” This is so true for me when my every interaction with other humans must be carefully analyzed and scripted, and even then I am terrified of being inappropriate, using language that doesn’t resonate with my intended audience, and sending the wrong body language. To make it worse, when I’m tired, sick or stressed, my ability to script and filter goes right out the window. I am not normal. I can put up that front, but it has a very high cost. The older I get the more maintaining the “normal” facade exhausts and depletes me.

I understand I am the one with the disparity and I am the one who has to be accommodating and I have to adjust. No one is going out of his or her way to make my life easier. This world wasn’t designed for people like me.

At my age some of my idiosyncrasies get a pass. I dress how I want for the most part, and can decline most social activities outside of work that I deem stressful. It’s a mixed bag.

I wouldn’t say that being wired the way I am is easy but then again it’s the only way I know. I still have more questions than answers.

Part of Ancient History, Under the Radar (which is where I like to be…)

68toyotacoronacoupeThe above pictured Corona is older than me.  Not by much, because this is a 1968 Corona.  Unlike me, when this car was new it had 90 BHP and would (theoretically) do 90 MPH. Maybe it would with the standard “four on the floor.”  I can assure you no conventional automatic transmission paired with a 90 BHP engine will do that unless one is traveling downhill with a hefty tail wind.  If only Toyota had discovered the wonderful benefits of treating their body panels with rust preventative processes before 1988, there might still be some of these around here in Ohio. The drivetrains on these old beasts would last forever.  Sad thing is, today when one says “Corona,” it is usually in reference to an overrated Mexican beer.  Then again, I am biased because I simply don’t care for any kind of beer.  It all tastes like ear wax smells.

corona beerYuk.

In some respects there isn’t a whole lot lingering around that is older than me, at least things that haven’t been demolished, renovated or added onto.  That’s difficult for me in terms of appreciating architecture because I am very much a purist and I hate to see modern junk tacked onto beautiful old façades, windows bricked over, or lovely varnished woodwork painted over.

I understand today that nobody cares about the aesthetic in architecture- function is all that matters, even though that has led to the proliferation of churches that look like pole barns and houses that look like cardboard boxes. The schools that were torn down in the 1990s were replaced by prefabbed monstrosities that are reminiscent of prisons. It is wrong to warehouse children in such bleak surroundings devoid of light and beauty, but in a way it’s “right,” if you think about what’s going on behind those walls.

Today’s schools are little more than holding cells to help prevent the kiddies from shoplifting, battery and assault during the daytime hours.  Their minds are being filled with feel-good garbage while their parents are out scoring drugs and creating more children they can’t support and refuse to educate.  There is a sad irony in this only in that today’s educational system is all about political and social indoctrination and not about critical thinking or aspiring to something beyond one’s self, but I digress.  The dumbing down of public education was just beginning when I was in elementary school. I dare say that the quality of public education will not improve until every person who cares about his or her offspring’s education refuses to enroll them in the public schools.

I can appreciate the beauty of a Gothic cathedral, though I admit I seldom have time to seek out a time for prayer and solace in one.

canterbury-cathedral.jpgIf I ever make my way to England, I will have to check out the Canterbury Cathedral.

I know it’s dangerous to wax nostalgic, especially because not everything was better in the “good old days,” but there are some things from 50 years ago (not necessarily the old Corona pictured above) that might have been worth keeping around.

Penny candy is a good example.  Especially those wax cola bottles with the mystery liquid inside.  Or candy cigarettes.  Political correctness be damned.

penny candy

Then again, the fact that candy is significantly more expensive keeps me from being tempted to indulge in it.

Of course, music.  My playlists pretty much end by 1985. There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part, there is not much beyond Steve Perry.

steve-perry

I like remaining under the radar on my birthday.  It’s kind of fun to just observe the day quietly.  Every day that Obama is NOT president is a good day. Sort of like it’s a good day when I’m remaining vertical and still sucking up valuable oxygen.  Been doing that (more or less) for 50 years straight now.

In some ways it’s hard to come to terms with being 50 years old.  There are days in which I feel like a piece of ancient history, and others when it doesn’t seem that long.

I’m old enough to know that there is no such thing as permanence- at least not in this lifetime.  Entropy is alive and well in this world.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

A Dearth of Reference Points, February Funk, and Wisdom from Dante

 

winter miseryIt’s February again.  That shortest month of the year, and the month in which the most people die. I think people just give up in February.  Christmas is long over (not that I am a great fan of the holiday hype,) and winter seems to just keep hanging on.  Most people are still paying for the crap they blithely and wantonly purchased for Christmas, that the kids have either broken or gotten bored with already. If you’re going to go, why not now? All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

That is a morbid thought, and I am no stranger to morbid thoughts.  I am always pulling worst case scenarios out of my imagination.  I should write horror movies, or at least get to narrate a guided tour of the Mütter Museum.  (I should get to actually go to Philadelphia to see the Mütter Museum…it’s on my bucket list.)

This morning’s drive was particularly sucky.  40-50MPH winds combined with temperatures in the low 20s and snow squalls meant that not only was the car being blown around, but there were little patches of ice hiding beneath that blowing snow.  I got here OK and with little incident, but some jackwagon in a Jeep Wrangler bought a trip to the ditch, likely arising from the erroneous assumption that 4 wheel drive makes one invincible.

Days like this remind me of my own fallibility and mortality more than I would like. Yes I know I screw up (a lot) and that every passing day I’m (to quote Pink Floyd’s song, “Time”) one day closer to death.

Days like this remind me of how not normal I am too.  Maybe it’s the overwhelming fatigue, or the inevitable joint pain that accompanies a low barometer, but I suspect it’s something deeper than weather. I went to the Dr. just the other day and my labs and such are mostly normal, so I probably don’t have any additional health failures. Even so, I am so tired I could sleep for weeks.

Maybe I am still guilt tripping.  Call it survivor’s guilt or maybe worse.  It’s not right to feel as if a weight has been lifted from me.  I feel like I don’t deserve a normal life…and maybe it’s not.  I don’t have a clue what “normal” is, nor have I ever had an accurate frame of reference and it scares me.  I don’t know what I am supposed to feel.  Then again, feeling anything always seems foreign to me.

I needed an extended sabbatical a long time ago but for various reasons that wasn’t able to happen. So I have to take bits and pieces of mental rest and reflection where I can get them.  Sometimes drive time is good for that.  Not lately, because driving is stressful when the weather sucks, but sometimes. I should have a Cougar Nap Saturday coming up and I will take advantage of that if I can.  If I take a few hours to just nap and watch reality TV (Botched is a good one, or The Incredible Dr. Pol, if I am in the mood for watching farm animals) on a Saturday, who can blame me?

I do need to set up a time (probably next Saturday) to get my oil changed and tires rotated, or I might arrange to drop the car off one day next week and drive the truck.

I am not looking forward to my birthday, which I hope most people I know will overlook. Usually they do because it’s at the end of February, when the winter funk and the it’s-not-quite-winter but-definitely-not-spring blecch season is in full swing in Ohio.

I think I might decide to set up some sort of weekend getaway sometime soon.  Maybe.

And it is quite OK to forget my birthday.