Irreverence is Underrated, the Pithy Humor of Youth, and Mid-Life Angst

I love this kid’s honesty.

In 100 years, statistics would have it that over 90% of people currently inhabiting the planet will be DEAD!  If one wants to keep citing statistics, the odds are 100% that I will be dead in 100 years.   Taking the Dirt Nap.  Sleeping the big sleep.  Not even the little old dudes in India and Russia have made it to 143.  I don’t think I want to be first for that.

I’m sure that in the near future near-immortality will be possible- technically- but let’s face it, that sort of engineering poses some moral questions.  I am not a big sci-fi fan.  The idea of living on as a disembodied computer program and then being deposited into a manufactured body as presented in the reanimation scenarios on the Science Channel show Through the Wormhole  is downright creepy.

Now if I could engineer the body, that would be intriguing.  If I could be about 6′ tall, weigh about 120, and have the perfect man-bait model bod, I could have some fun.  However, being the sexy vixen would take some upgrading to the motor centers of my brain as well as a full body upgrade.  What’s the point of being man-bait if you fall all over yourself and spill crap on your sexy clothes?  It’s no tragedy to spill coffee all over the clothes I bought at Goodwill or off the Target clearance rack, but to spill coffee all over designer duds, or twist my ankles and break the heels off of high faluting stilettos?  That would suck.

What’s really bad is I thought this was Steven Tyler for a minute.  My bad.

Today’s body-mod technology is scary.  I couldn’t afford cosmetic surgery in my wildest dreams, and even if I had the scratch I’d be loathe to actually do it.  The only plastic surgery that seems to be effective, at least most of the time, is breast enlargement, which I need like a hole in the head.  38Ds are enough for anyone.  Keeping them from moving any further south is my ongoing objective.  The things that are wrong with my appearance aren’t fixable.  Short arms, short legs and bad proportions don’t fix.

I’ve had major surgeries.  It takes a long time to recover.  Knowing my luck I would end up looking even worse than when they first started, or I’d get MRSA or something and die an excruciating and macabre death from it.  I think I’ll reserve surgical intervention for the truly necessary things, until they can do surgery like on Star Trek– where they scan you with a high faluting electronic box and you’re magically healed, with no blood or incisions or anything.

Implanting my brain into a super-body is probably not going to happen.  So you do what you can with what you have.

If all else fails, be glad you can “P” !

I’m surprised this teacher didn’t give the kid a gold star for being able to perform bodily functions, as much as the schools have been dumbed down.  Personally I have to admire his weisenheimer attitude even if the teacher’s dreadfully politically correct response sort of dampens the effect.  “Best self?”  What kind of happy horseshit is that?  Would he be a “better self” if, like Beavis and Butthead, he forgot how to pee?

Then again,

It’s fun to screw with others.

Just in case anyone is curious, I found this an interesting assignment too.

You Might Turn Blue and Die (or Not,) Pharmaceutical Fun, and Science?

Today’s science is tomorrow’s quackery.  Case in point- the “medicated” cigarettes shown above are in a museum.  I don’t know of any Dr. who would recommend smoking anything for the “temporary relief of the paroxysms of asthma.”  I don’t know of any Dr.s who would use the word “paroxysm,” even though it’s a pretty cool word.  Here’s the definition according to Merriam-Webster:

paroxysm: (n)
1: a fit, attack, or sudden increase or recurrence of symptoms (as of a disease) : convulsion <a paroxysm of coughing>
2: a sudden violent emotion or action : outburst <a paroxysm of rage>
 
In my world, synonyms for “fit” are always welcomed, if for no other reason than to keep me from sounding as if I am repeating myself incessantly.
 
If I do no other service in this world, I can only hope to expand someone’s vocabulary.
 
I would love to find a pic of it, but there was an old patent medicine featured on the Science Channel program, Oddities, that was supposed to contain strychnine and testicles- and 18% alcohol, ostensibly to help one forget that he was not only drinking powdered gonads, but was also poisoning himself.  100 years ago, the testicle tonic would be considered modern pharmacopoeia.  Today it would be considered just plain gross and poisonous, but science, like history, has to be taken in context.  100 years ago, cocaine was believed to be therapeutic.  How any of our ancestors lived long enough to procreate is beyond me.
 
I’m sure that some of the pharmaceuticals we use today will be eliminated or phased out due to side effects.  I just read today that benzocaine- a topical anesthetic found in Blistex and cough drops- can make you turn blue and die if you OD on it.  Apparently if you OD on this stuff you can get methemoglobinemia  ,which sounds like a really scary condition in which you turn blue because you can’t get enough oxygen in your blood, so you die.   I wonder if it’s in Carmex, because that’s generally my cracked-lip remedy of choice.  I would hate to begin my trip to the Great Beyond by OD ing on Carmex.
How many of us remember the old style mercury thermometers- or playing with liquid mercury in science class?  Now mercury is considered hazmat.  Apparently you can touch it and die or something. That would have been handy information back in 1980-whatever when we were farking around with the stuff.   Then again, apparently kids who fail to wear a helmet while riding a bike, pedaling a Big Wheel, swimming or (let’s hope the really paranoid people out there don’t jump on this bandwagon) eating a cheese sandwich, risk grievous head injury should they fall and skin a knee. 
 
No wonder kids are fat, if they have to suit up for a moonwalk just to go out and get some bloody exercise.  We got plenty of exercise back in the Dark Ages, and it was bloody at times, but scars add character.  I must have a lot of character as I have plenty of scars from cuts, scrapes, burns, falls, etc.  Even as uncoordinated as I am, I usually managed not to bang my head on stuff.  My arms and legs, not so lucky- but I have managed to go 42 years and still have all my fingers and toes, which given my complete lack of physical prowess- and complete lack of protective battle gear to play in as a child- is pretty impressive.
I can see some advantages in this kind of protective play gear had it been available to me as a child.  I probably would not have gotten nearly as much sunburn.  I also probably wouldn’t have felt as much pain as I was getting my ass kicked either.  However, I do see some distinct potential for dehydration and hyperthermia (overheating) if one were to wear this on a hot day.
 
I think part of the paranoia surrounding one’s offspring comes in part from the fact that people don’t have as many kids.  When you have three or four kids they might seem a bit more expendable than when you only have one.  People also have to spend a lot more money on kids today, so children just playing like normal kids jeopardize your investment . The calamity factor- and the potential for catastrophic expense- rises exponentially when they go out and do stupid and reckless things. 
 
I know the incident when the POMC had to get crowns and multiple root canals after some “buddies” of his sabotaged his bike (something about 160# of fourteen year old boy hitting the pavement mouth first is really not good for his dental health) cost me over three thousand dollars- and that was after the insurance paid. I couldn’t leave him to go through life with a Billy Bob mouth- and the crowns are lovely- but now I see why some mothers strap a helmet on their offspring at birth and don’t remove it until the child is potty trained, literate and no longer on a parental health insurance policy.  The bad thing about that particular incident is that he would have needed a mouth guard to mitigate this injury.
 
Even if he had been wearing a helmet (which I seriously doubt, knowing him) it wouldn’t have done jack to protect his mouth unless he would have had one of those full face motorcycle helmets. I can only imagine the mocking he would have gotten from his posse for wearing a full face motorcycle helmet to ride a BMX bike.

I wonder if it would do me any good to start wearing a helmet now?  Probably not.

Then again, science has advanced from the days of patent medicines with really gross stuff in them, at least I hope.

Pile is an old time euphemism for hemorrhoid. Another fun fact to share with friends and family, best reserved for conversation over the dinner table,at least if you’re looking for shock value.  I have to wonder if the “active ingredient” in the A.J.P. Pile Cure is kerosene.  It wouldn’t surprise me.   If it’s burnin’ it’s workin’!

Proven: The Total Depravity of Man, Earthly Purgatory Remembered, and Middle Age Rules

I was one of those wise-assed kids who most teachers really didn’t want to deal with.  Not only was I a whipping post as well as a social pariah amongst my peers, the teachers didn’t like me either, especially in elementary school.  Hindsight being 20/20, I fully understand why a young first grade teacher would be intimidated by a  freaky looking five year old whose current reading list included Dante’s Inferno, the KJV Bible, the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and whatever happened to be lying about the house or in the daily newspaper.  I highly doubt that too many teachers have had the dubious distinction of dealing with a hyperlexic  (or Asperger’s/hyperlexic, because parts of both of those descriptions fit) child, especially in the backwater town where I grew up.  I have all the sympathy in the world for any educator attempting to deal with a child like me.  You can take all the conventional child development theories and throw them out the window because I didn’t come close to following the patterns or the formal stages.  Erickson and Piaget did not encounter kids like me, I can assure you.  I could have had a lot of fun with them though.

I could read when I was two years old, and I can’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t read.  I read voraciously as a child and still do.  The school system had absolutely no idea what to do with me, so in their wisdom they decided I should go directly to first grade at age five.  The only problem with this was at age five I was reading on the same level as a college freshman. I can just imagine how embarrassed my second grade teacher was when I used the word “sarcastic,” which apparently was not a word in her vocabulary.  She thought I was making up words- until I spelled it, defined it, and looked up the definition for her in the dictionary.  I was transferred to the other second grade class the next day.  That teacher didn’t like me much either.  As a child I made the simple mistaken assumption that if I knew something it was common knowledge.  Today I know better.   It’s safer for me to assume that if I know something, most other people don’t know, which is not a testament to my intelligence, but a sad commentary on the progressive dumbing down of society.  Intelligence is a constant and the population is growing.  I certainly don’t know everything- the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know- but I do know that humanity has continued to head downhill since the Fall.  No matter what society wants to believe regarding technology and the human ability to build utopia, utopia is not happening.  Utopia is not going to happen at the hands of humanity, believe that.   Dystopia is alive and well though. If anything, human beings just screw things up in ever more creative ways.  Even though I would not consider myself a Calvinist in regard to theology (I lean more along the lines of being a confessional Lutheran as far as theology goes) John Calvin had it 100% correct in his teaching on the total depravity of man.  We are all born with the brown touch.  Everything human beings touch eventually turns to, well, you know, poo.

I’m not implying that I was some kind of prodigy or anything like that.  To this day I can’t explain why I could read at such an early age.  I still struggle with math (anything beyond basic business math is out of my realm) and I have the physical coordination of a drunken mule.  I’m scatterbrained and disorganized.  I remember things I don’t need to, and forget things I need to remember.  I am not particularly social unless I have to be for business reasons, and no one would accuse me of being Miss Manners or Emily Post.  What you see is what you get.

I’ve been trolling some blogs written by middle school teachers lately (oh, my condolences on that career choice) and thinking of that dark portion of my life almost makes me believe in purgatory again.  Middle school had to be the absolute worst three years of my life.  There were some funny parts, most memorably the day Ellen stuck a roach clip on Howie’s belt loop and then locked him in the science room closet, but for the most part it was a living hell.

“Howie” was my eighth grade science teacher.  I have all the sympathy in the world for this poor guy.  First of all, even considering this was 1981-2, he could have used a few couture lessons.  The polyester high water pants and white socks with black shoes weren’t winning him any fashion accolades.  He also combed his hair into an Elvis-style pompadour waxed up with that greasy Brylcreem stuff.  To top it off he had thick (and also greasy looking) coke bottle glasses- the style of glasses referred to in the military as “birth control glasses.” 

I have to wonder if Howie was one of those guys who went to college to avoid going to Vietnam.  I had several teachers in middle school and high school who readily admitted to doing exactly that.  I bet some of them wished they would have gone to ‘Nam instead of dealing with the hellions I went to school with.  Education was one of the easiest majors to complete back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, so a lot of guys who normally would have ended up as factory workers or truck drivers or roofers ended up going to college to avoid the draft.  This probably explains why I was volunteered to correct spelling for my freshman English teacher, and why my sophomore history teacher spent every class period reading the day’s chapter to the class in a dull, dry monotone.

Anyway, poor Howie had his work cut out for him.  My eighth grade science class was filled with every misfit and jackoff in the school.  Howie, being rather soft spoken and somewhat of a wimp, didn’t have any kind of control over that class.  It was cacophony and chaos every day. Most days I left that class with my hair full of spitballs and/or nasty notes taped to my back.  

One of the girls- Ellen- who was 13 going on 35, had a thing for Marlboro reds, enjoyed sleeping with anything remotely male, and rolling up a joint of Marion County Homegrown whenever she could get it, usually sported a pink feathered roach clip attached to her hair like a barrette.  I can only assume that she kept the roach clip handy should the opportunity to smoke some homegrown come along. 

One day Howie was trying in vain to get people to shut up and stop throwing spitballs, eraser tips and other divers projectiles.  At the same time one of the boys decided it would be fun to grab my notebook and draw swastikas and SS lightning bolts on it.   At least he didn’t spit on it or smear boogers on it, which would have been more typical of this particular dude.  There were so many things flying through the air and so much noise going on that it was difficult to discern how many rules were being broken and to what degree.  It was in the midst of this tempest that Ellen sneaked up behind Howie and pinned her pink feathered roach clip on his belt loop.  Howie had absolutely no clue and went back into the back closet to get something, wagging his roach clip tail behind him.  Normally I didn’t take any kind of joy in others being tormented, being no stranger to torment myself, but this visual was so outrageously funny that the entire class was laughing themselves to tears and I was laughing right along with them. 

The science closet had a locking door on it.  A key was required to open the door from either side.  The key was on Howie’s desk as he usually left the closet door open.  Just when the visual of the roach clip tail couldn’t get any funnier, Ellen shut the door, locking poor Howie in the closet with no key.   The entire class (I hate to admit it but me included) was absolutely howling in uncontrollable laughter.

About  fifteen minutes later the principal showed up.  I can’t believe it took him that long to hear all the racket.  He immediately starts looking for Howie and then he hears the frantic pounding from inside the science closet.  Howie was eventually set free, but it took the principal awhile to find the key on the desk.  Rumor had it that Howie resigned from the school system following that school year from hell and got a job driving a bread truck.  I don’t blame him one bit.

Middle school thoroughly sucked.  Also in eighth grade I had the misfortune of being placed with a classmate who had been in all kinds of trouble with the law and technically should have been in Juvenile Hall- he was sixteen, still in eighth grade, and he was a pervert.  Granted, all sixteen year old boys are perverts to a degree, but this lecherous freak was way too close to me- the only thirteen year old in eighth grade with a 36C chest.  Every morning before home room this nasty dude would chase me around trying to grab said chest to the chant of “titty, titty, titty.”   This dude scared me half to death- but there was no way in hell I was going to let him grab me.  One morning he was particularly randy and had gotten very close to getting his wish.  It didn’t help that the other boys were egging him on.  Then my best friend decided she’d had enough of his behavior, so she tripped him.  He grabbed back at her, knocked her down and broke her leg.  The part of this that really torqued me was that she got in trouble for fighting as well as the pervo which in my mind was completely unfair.  I don’t agree with the common school rule that both parties in a fight get punished.  In my opinion there is an instigator and a victim and no one should face a penalty for defending themselves or for defending someone else who is being victimized.  So she got to finish out the school year in a cast.  The pervo ended up being expelled because he had caused so much additional trouble in the school, so that at least was a good thing.

I had a few small victories in middle school, but the best thing about it is that it is long since over. There were too many mornings of being thrown head first into garbage cans, stuffed into lockers, and being chased by a pervert.

There are those who say that they would like to be young again.   I would only want to be young again with one caveat- that I could be young again knowing what I know now.  I think I’d have a lot more fun with it.  Middle age has its disadvantages, but for the most part cougardom is a lot more comfortable.  I don’t worry about impressing anyone, and I don’t think I have to worry about being tossed into garbage cans, stuffed into lockers or being chased by perverts.   I don’t have to wear my sisters’ old clothes nor do I have to put up with guys asking for my phone number to call them for dates.