Add One to the List of Things I Thought I’d Never Do

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This is not my belly button area.

There are a few things that I thought I would never do in this life.  Some of them I’m pretty confident will never come to pass, such as climbing Mt. Everest or running a marathon, but I never thought I would (considering the dim view I take on tacky ones) get a tattoo.

I’m the first one to mock bad tats, and I’ll never forget the reason why my grandfather wore long-sleeved Oxford shirts with the button sleeves buttoned at the wrists every day of his life until he was dying in the nursing home.  Grandpa had some horrifically badly done tats on his forearms dating back to when he served in the Navy in 1943.  They did not improve with age.

I generally have a loathing for the “tramp stamp” or any other tats on a woman in places that are way too close to her naughty bits.  The idea of having an artist drawing on my cleavage, butt crack or any other area normally covered by clothing in polite company is a rather unsavory one.  I don’t want to subject anyone to that visual.

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Not my back or my “tramp stamp” area!  Especially not Jabba the Hut, considering that from reliable reports he bears more than a passing resemblance to my ex.

Even so, I have toyed on and off with the idea of a tasteful tat of a black cat on a non-naughty bit part of my anatomy for a long time. Weirdly enough, Steve-o was sort of behind me actually doing it rather than just continually mulling it over.

Steve-o is deathly afraid of needles, so much so, that last year when he had to have a routine blood draw I told him to grab my hand and look the other way.  I thought he was going to rip my hand off and jump up through the ceiling.  So when he said he was going to get a couple of tats, I said, yeah, right.  I didn’t think he had the balls, and I reminded him, in spite of his swagger, of his very unmanly drama with the phlebotomist in the ER, and that only involved one needle stick.

I told him that I’d go with him, and if he went through with it I’d get one too.  Part of me figured he would wuss out, but if he did it, then I was obligated.  The nice part about doing this with Steve-o, is that as in everything he had done his research and found a facility with stellar reviews, autoclave sterilization and talented artists.  He is so paranoid about needles and the prospect of blood-borne pathogens that he’s going to choose someplace that’s scrupulously clean.

Either way, no real big deal.  I am not freaked out by needles.  My pain threshold is much higher than it probably should be, so either way, I was cool with it, and I’d been toying around with the black cat idea anyway.

When I saw the designs he came up with I almost had to laugh, but hey, he’s over 21.  At least no cartoon characters were lampooned in the making of his tats.

The one he had put on his shoulder is in German and roughly translated means: We Must Live Until We Die.

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The other one is way too close to naughty bits to show the actual picture of the tat, but let’s just say it’s an instructional diagram:

shift pattern

The motorhead crowd would know this (above) is the shift pattern for 4-speed manual Volkswagens, i.e. like his rail buggy.  In Toyotas and other civilized vehicles, (below) reverse is directly below 5th, but VW to this day still insists on that funky dog-leg reverse pattern.  It screws me up every time I drive one if I don’t consciously think about it, since I am used to driving the Toyota every day.

5speed Toyota

This one makes more sense to me.

The other bet Steve-o and I had was which one of us would be discovered first.  Since his are on his shoulder and in the nether region covered by boxers, and mine is on my calf, the Warden (Steve-o calls my Mom the Warden, which in some ways is sort of apropos) will probably notice mine first, being that it’s the season for wearing capris.  So I’m thinking the next time I go up there either I wear a skirt or long pants if I want to avoid the drama.  Unless of course, she already knows.  Mom will of course have a major tizzy fit when (or if) she finds out, because she thinks any tattoo is automatically tacky.  She may be right, but I’m 44 years old, and if I feel like getting a black cat inked on my calf I’m going to.  You only live once.   It’s not as if it’s on my face or hands or naughty bits.

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For what it’s worth, I think it’s cool, and right now I’m the only one I really care about impressing.

I’ve heard people say getting a tat is insanely painful.  It probably depends on where you get it and who you are, but at the very worst- for me anyway- it only felt like a minor sunburn.  The more that I thought about black cats in art, the Chat Noir illustrations by Théophile Steinlen stood out in my mind as being the coolest black cat icons I could find, though I did take liberty with the hot pink eyes.

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I do draw the line on a great number of things as far as tats go- where they can be, what they can depict and so forth to be considered tasteful.  Names are out of the question, as I remember all too well my best friend in high school having her boyfriend’s name- RAY- tattooed across her back.  When she and RAY predictably broke up, she was stuck with his name in three inch tall letters across her back.  I got smacked when I suggested she put BESTOS underneath RAY and get a job advertising brake pads.  There are just some things that aren’t meant to be illustrated on the human body, like this:

tattoo lenin head

Don’t be a Lenin-head!

The Meow Game, Communicating With Others, and True Believers

The Meow Game from Super Troopers

I have no idea where people get the idea that it’s in any way beneficial to get lippy with cops.  I know some cops like to play mind games with people to see how they’re going to respond, which positively terrifies and paralyzes me.

I have a difficult enough time under normal circumstances carrying on a conversation face to face without freaking people out.  I don’t get the nuances of eye contact (generally I avoid eye contact lest I be accused of staring,) and I also have real problems with sending the right body language.  Non-verbals for me are a learned skill from years of observation and interaction and do not come naturally.  I have to consciously think about and orchestrate all my non-verbal signals constantly when I deal with people face to face in order to communicate effectively.  For most people eye contact and physical gestures come naturally, almost subliminally, without thinking about it.  For me, if left to my own devices, I would simply observe others with a bit of a catatonic stare until or unless I have something to say.  Electronic communication is so much easier for me because I can simply concentrate on what I would like to convey rather than worry about whether or not I’m staring into space or standing at a weird angle.

I may not be responding, but I do hear you- with some reservations.  If I want to, and if I’m not focusing on whatever song’s stuck in my head, that is.

So my interactions with law enforcement (fortunately for me they have been precious few,) are usually limited to staring at the ground or off to the side and saying “yes, sir, Officer” at the appropriate times.  I’ve only gotten out of a speeding ticket once, and that was because I was working as a driver and the cop knew my boss.  Knock on Formica or whatever that plastic looking stuff is, but the last time I got busted for any kind of traffic violation I was nine months pregnant (my son was born on the same day they would have wanted me to appear in court) and was pulled over for running a yellow light.  Of course the cop could obviously tell I was preggers- I looked like a battleship- but all I could do was keep from giving him the stink-eye, sign the damned ticket and keep on going.  I don’t do tears on demand. Even when crying is the correct response, I usually can’t.  I break down after the crisis has passed, and sometimes it takes years for the tears to find their way out.

This strategy- even if I would dare to try it- is not open to me.

I don’t think that crying is the correct response when you get busted anyway, but it works for some women.

I just didn’t have the physical energy or the emotional strength to explain to this primadouche just-out-of-the-academy-looking-for-someone-to-bust cop that going through a yellow light is legal.   The cop didn’t need to know I wasn’t supposed to be driving at all, (I had pre-eclampsia, had been in and out of the hospital for sky-high blood pressure, and was supposed to be on strict bed rest) but I had to go out because my POS ex was too lazy to go to the grocery store, or to help unload the car, or really do much of anything else besides suck up valuable oxygen and whine (yeah, I sure know how to pick ’em, but Jerry is a nominal upgrade to some degree- at least Jerry showers regularly and he hasn’t morphed into Jabba the Hut.)   I sent the bastards their check for $125- because knowing the good-ol-boy system in the town I’m from, you might as well just pay it, because who is the judge going to getting paid to believe? (This was before the days of surveillance cameras everywhere, so I had no way of documenting for posterity that the light was yellow and all that.) It would have been my luck- even had I not been in the hospital that day- that the cop would actually have shown up in court and I’d had to pay the ticket and court costs too.  Sometimes local government sucks just as much as government in higher places.

I can go on with this subject too, but suffice to say I don’t have the gold, so I don’t make the rules.  Too bad.

I am a really paranoid driver, partially because of that incident.  I’d like to drive like I did when I was a young punk out on the back roads, where your worst fear would be running off the road into a drainage ditch, where your nominally decomposed corpse might be found in a few weeks, but those days are over.  The cops have GPS and helicopters now.  Besides, a Yaris isn’t exactly a rally car.

Unless you’re in Thailand.

That is whacked, but I guess with enough suspension mods and such, you could make  a Yaris into a rally car.  But mine is more geared for basic transportation, and as a forum for my mobile political commentary.  Since I have to drive, and I’m pretty slow, some people just might get an education just from reading the back of my car.

German does sound scary, but remember, English is a derivative of German.

I enjoy language and its nuances, probably more so than most because I don’t do well with the non-verbal and emotional sides of communication.  Interacting with dogs has helped me immensely because in order to communicate with them I have to cue in on their non-verbals, which are easier to read because theirs are far more exaggerated than humans’.  I learn a lot from them.  Subtlety is not their nature.

Sheena is as subtle as a freight train.

This morning I was thinking about all the personalities in history who were true believers- in all the wrong things.  I can’t help but to observe that it really doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place, if your head is up your ass.   A good example of this phenomenon are the crazy people who think that if they die in the process of killing “infidels” that they go to heaven and collect 70 virgins.  Faith is not something that comes easy to me, but I would find it hard to believe that God intends for people to completely check their brains at the door.  Why would God have actually bothered to give us brains if He didn’t intend for us to use them?  And then there’s Dennis Kucinich, for whom logic cannot offer a suitable explanation.  There’s plenty of shithouse-rat-crazy people out there who will believe any sort of clap trap if the right talking head is blathering away (Obama supporters who still don’t get that he’s anti-American, the Heaven’s Gate followers, white supremacists, and so on.)

I wonder if the Visitors have picked him up yet.

I think I get it why so many analytical/rational types are secular humanists.  They get the logic that good is better than evil, but they can’t prove or disprove the existence of a Creator or Higher Power.  The only problem with secular humanism is that it degrades into utilitarianism very quickly.  There is no room in a utilitarian economy for the aesthetic- for beauty, or art, or emotion.  Even though I’m a rational type, even I need something beyond the get up, go to work, go to bed routine that most of us are beholden to.  To deny there is a sphere beyond our understanding is to indulge in the ultimate human hubris- to claim we are the be-all, end-all of the universe- when our best secular explanation for creation involves an ex nihilo big bang from the depths of nowhere.  I’m not a creationist in the 6 days, Adam and Eve made from real mud, wandering naked in the Garden with all the wild animals sense.  It would have been cool, but I don’t think creation happened that way. I don’t take the Garden account of Genesis as being literal (I do believe it to be a beautiful allegory) but I think it does tell us much about the Whom involved, if not so much the How or the Why.

Naked with all the little critters of nature.  Just imagine all the mosquitoes and fleas in places where insects are totally unauthorized.

I would rather acknowledge and embrace the mystery.  I would rather take Pascal’s Wager and assume that God IS, than to have to live in a world having decided that He is not.  While I cannot prove His existence, I cannot disprove it either, and I’d rather err on the side of embracing the mystery.

Belief in and of itself is neutral, but I think that God gave us brains to inform our beliefs, so that we are neither beholden to blind emotionalism or locked into pragmatic utilitarianism.

I do find it a bit ironic that the same people who will defy thousands of years of moral teaching vehemently despise those who still think there is value in that moral teaching, and are enraged when traditionalists speak out.

I’m OK with admitting there are black and whites, and I will gladly share my take on morality should anyone ask.  I know people disagree with me, and vehemently on some issues.  That is their prerogative.  There are some people who don’t believe morality is relevant any more and nothing I say- or that I can back up with scientific fact- is going to change their opinions.  If you want to have a relationship with a Ford Escort, or dress like a furry, or pretty much whatever, as long as you aren’t killing people, you’re not charging me for it, and you leave me alone, knock yourself out.  Just don’t expect me to announce to the world how wonderful your life choices are.

Duct Tape, Bad Body Work and More Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Oh, how I love examples of creative body work.  It seems the Kroger parking lot has yet again yielded me rich comedic fodder.  I wonder if the duct tape is simply holding the front fascia on or if the unfortunate owner of this POS is asking duct tape to do more than it was ever intended to do.  I don’t think the celebrated silver strapping would be terribly effective as a weatherstrip, so whoever is sitting in the driver’s seat better be prepared for a wet butt on rainy days. 

I have driven things worse than this, but not by much, and that was a very long time ago.  When the air was dirty, sex was clean, and Steve Perry looked awesome in Spandex.

Last night I was treated to an impromptu road trip to Cincinnati to pick up Steve-o.  I was also reminded why I don’t buy used cars with the exception (and I wouldn’t do it now because leasing is not a good option for me any more) of my own lease returns.  He bought that tasty Audi he was eyeballing forever back in September, and it appeared to be well-maintained.  He did his research and inspections and for all intents and purposes it seemed to be a good solid ride.   For what mysterious reason I have absolutely no clue, he decided to have the ECM flashed to change the presets- the things that motorheads will do in the name of performance- only to have the clutch plate fall apart on it as they were pulling back into the shop.  It was an interesting failure- the pressure plate springs were bent, the disc itself was warped and missing pieces of lining, and the rear main seal was leaking to top it all off.  Then again anyone who replaces a clutch without doing a rear main and input shaft seal is a bloody fool.

Pity be on those technicians, as putting a clutch in an all wheel drive car (worse than a 4X4 truck by all accounts) with a longitudinal engine (longitudinal: the crankshaft runs from the front of the car to the back, rather than transverse which is side to side- most front wheel drive cars have transverse engines) is no easy task.  I really pity them if Steve-o doesn’t get his car back tomorrow after paying the extra freight to get his clutch goodies overnight. 

I figure after 20 years I might not get stuck being his deus ex machina every time he gets in a spot, but at least I’m not paying for this repair work. I got off easy just having to get him and Spencer and cart them back as far as Columbus.

As the return roadtrip progressed and I treated the boys to dinner at Taco Bell (I am still paying for that 5 layer beefy burrito, but where else can three people eat for $17?) the conversation somehow turned to creepy things. 

Dad and Spencer had the misfortune of meeting up with the male biological contributor of Steve-o’s DNA at a car show last summer.  He thinks Spencer is Steve-o.  That’s fine with me.  It’s also fine with me that I didn’t have to witness his transformation into Jabba the Hut.  Jerry has his faults, but he would never be mistaken for livestock or for a beached whale.  Apparently my illustrious ex has gotten a tad bit portly in the past 16 years.  However, the way Spencer described him, it sounds as if he’s munched and pieced and gorged himself into the “morbidly obese” category.  Sad thing, that, especially because I can remember a time when he was not only thin, but obsessed with remaining so.  I wonder what the hell happened – for a minute- but in the grand scheme of things, since I don’t have to pay for his chow, replace the furniture, smell him, or clean up after him, I could pretty much care less.

Any dude with a swinging johnson (one that works anyway… but I really don’t want to go into my musings on the sad and deprived world of ED) can be the male contributor of a child’s DNA.  That doesn’t take brains.  I am sure that if one were to investigate the number of convicted felons, chronic government moochers, correctional institute inmates, and so on that it could be proven that some of these low lifes have sired many offspring.  There are plenty of “baby daddies” out there who have done absolutely nothing to contribute to the physical, emotional or spiritual maintenance and growth of their offspring.  For these types of scrounge puppies I have nothing but contempt. 

Granted, it can also be said that it is in a woman’s best interest to scope out and screen any potential breeding partners so that only the gainfully employed and nominally vertical and breathing get through, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  Sometimes decent women for whatever reason end up procreating with the scum of the earth.  It happens, especially for those naive enough to “listen to the heart” instead of being like my oldest sister and examining the dude’s bank statement and earning potential before getting emotionally involved.  Then again some of us can pick and choose while others of us don’t have that kind of luxury.  Hindsight being what it is I should have simply gone to the “lives alone with cats (and dogs)” step, but life is to be lived and learned.  The difference between ignorance and stupidity is in learning from one’s mistakes.

I have confidence that Steve-o will be more than just a sperm donor.  He better be.  Or I will kick his ass.