I no longer remember why Jackson asked me to draw a picture of Mr. Freeze. I forgot to give him goggles: (more…)
Peanut: It’s what I do. At first it was just a way to get some warm air up under my shell, but now I think it’s become something that defines me. (more…)
The other morning, in addition to Jackson’s regular breakfast of — oh, let’s say oat bran and prune juice, since no matter what I say someone will judge me for it so I might as well pretend I give him one of those gerontological diets whose entire point is to pass through your body and out your colon completely unnoticed. So, the other morning in addition to all the foods he normally eats without the slightest reaction, I gave Jackson a nice, ripe pear. He ate it. And ten minutes later he had itchy red splotches on his legs, elbows, armpits, face cheeks, and butt cheeks.
“God is punishing you for touching yourself,” I said calmly. No, I didn’t. Ha ha! I took a wild guess and told him he might be having a reaction to something he ate, quite possibly the pear. I went and got him a Benadryl.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked, looking at the little pink pill in his hand.
“Swallow it,” I said.
He swallowed it. “That was easy,” he said.
“You have a great career in corporate catchphrases ahead of you,” I said.
I didn’t want to take him to school looking like he’d suffered through some sort of inscrutable beating, so since I didn’t have to be at work for another two hours, we just sat around and waited to see whether Team Rocket would defeat Pokemon for once. (Spoiler alert: Team Rocket’s victory was once again foiled by ineptitude and ego, and bizarre voice acting, and atrocious fashion sense.)
An hour later Jackson’s rashes, or hives, or whatever they were, were all gone.
“Great!” I said, rubbing my hands together gleefully. “Let’s get you dressed and get you to school.”
“I’m sleepy,” he said, burrowing into his bed. He began to weep softly. “Sooo sleeeeepy.”
Oh, Benadryl, you are so magical, with your healing properties and the way you make my son flop from side to side when I shake him.
I don’t endorse substance abuse in the under-twelve set, but desperate times. “I’ll get you a Coke.”
Just saying the word Coke perked him up. “Really?”
“Yes. Put your pants on.” I sprinted to the refrigerator: nothing but milk, beer, and an old Vitamin Water. I sprinted to the laundry closet: Cherry 7-Up with Antioxidants? Who the hell bought that? Back to the refrigerator, I dug deeper, pushing past a giant container of olives, and gasped.
“Okay,” I said, walking back into Jackson’s room, “I know I gave your father a speech about going to BevMo and buying this horrible crap, but it seems the time has come.” I held out a bottle of Jolt. Blue Jolt, to be exact. All the sugar and twice the caffeine.
In Jackson’s excitement to be chugging a Jolt at 9:30 in the morning, he managed to knock the bottle over and spill half of it, thank GOD. He drank the rest up, got dressed, and ran to the car. Once we got on the road, however, he was sort of unnervingly quiet.
“Are you feeling alright?” I asked.
“I feel kind of nervous,” he said, grinding his teeth into nubs.
When we got to school, Jackson zipped off to class and I went into the office to confess to the school secretary what I’d done.
“His poor little body!” she cried, “He probably doesn’t know whether to fall asleep or run around in circles like his ass is on fire!” No, she didn’t say that, OF COURSE SHE DIDN’T SAY THAT, but she did hoot with laughter, and when she was done wiping the tears from her eyes she promised they’d keep an eye on him and call if he did, in fact, catch fire.
The house was dark.
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the hamster.
I was of three minds
Like a habitrail
In which there are three hamsters.
The hamster whirled in its spinning wheel.
It was a small part of the condominium.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a hamster and a tortoise and a bulldog and a nine-year-old boy
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of wanting seeds
Or the beauty of having them,
The hamster digesting
Or just after.
Incomprehensible things were written.
The hamster ignored them.
O tan men of Hollywood,
Why do you imagine golden beavers?
Do you not see how the hamster
Scampers around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know Mexican accents
And lucid, unrepeatable curses;
But I know, too,
That the hamster doesn’t care
What I know.
When the hamster burrowed out of sight,
It marked the beginning
Of one of many sunrises.
At the sight of hamsters
Flying in a green light,
Even the neighborhood weirdos
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over California
In a glass hybrid.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his Prius
For a swarm of hamsters.
The wood chips are moving.
The hamster must be breathing.
It was evening all afternoon.
The hills were burning
And they were going to burn.
The hamster sat
In his food cup.
Apologies to Wallace Stevens.
I’ve been reading a book about comedy writing that Alice recommended, so I thought I’d take a minute to try to figure out what makes Beaton’s cartoons so funny to me. In this one, it’s when she lets the king get over-serious about total nonsense, in the exact same way that I am tempted to get over-serious about these cartoons. Irony!
She’s also really good at undermining great authors that we’ve been taught to respect so much that we’re afraid to breathe when we’re around them.
That appeals to me, as someone who’s been somewhat oppressed by higher education, and who read just enough Kierkegaard to make me dangerous at cocktail parties, but not enough to earn more than a C on the final.
The rest of the time, it’s the way she has old-timey people speak in the current vernacular.
So, hey! That was uneducational, wasn’t it. Sorry, I’m still getting used to this blogging thing again. I’ll get it worked out. Don’t you worry.
Twentysomethings with tattoos and creative facial hair,
when did you discover my neighborhood?
It used to be just middle-class families who went to bed at ten
and leathery beach rats who kept our one bar open.
Now here you are in the cat-food aisle, beaming at all the Fancy Feast.
Cuddles will enjoy whatever flavor you pick.
Don’t forget to buy kibble, though,
or she will lose all her teeth.
Ignore my son as he runs past you shouting, “Dipthong!”
He enjoys saying the word.
If you ask him what he wants for dinner,
he’ll say, “dipthong.”
It was funny the first seventeen times.
When I was in second grade I read “cousin” as “cow-sin” and I hid in the coat room fighting back tears, trying to figure out where Mrs. O’Neill was finding “cuzzin” in my borrowed Dick and Jane.
And until last night’s Antiques Roadshow I didn’t know how to say chalcedony. I’d only ever read the word, so in my head I pronounced it “CHAL-seh-doe-nee,” but apparently to gem specialists and lovers of spoken English alike, it’s “chal-SED-nee” (or more to the Greek, perhaps, “kal-SED-nee“). I spent the rest of yesterday evening and a good chunk of this morning distractedly trying to reconfigure the neural cow paths in my brain to accommodate this new and vital information. I’ll have you know.
And like the other day, when I was wondering whether licking the chocolate frosting off a dull chef’s knife wouldn’t be the act of an untrustworthy woman, I felt myself eerily cautioned from beyond the grave by H. W. Fowler:
The English speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive* is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; (5) those who know and distinguish.
1. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, and are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes. ‘To really understand’ comes readier to their lips and pens than ‘really to understand’; they see no reason why they should not say it (small blame to them, seeing that reasons are not their critics’ strong point), and they do say it, to the discomfort of some among us, but not to their own.
2. To the second class, those who do not know but do care, who would as soon be caught putting knives in their mouths as splitting an infinitive but have only hazy notions of what constitutes that deplorable breach of etiquette, this article is chiefly addressed.
*It strikes me as very funny that you can substitute the word “mommybloggers” for “split infinitive” and it makes a whole new set of sense.
And I’m terribly sorry, but if you want to read another 1,500 words about split infinitives you’ll have to find a copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Second Edition, 1965, because as someone who’s wantonly eaten peanut butter straight from the jar using a Swiss Army knife, I’ve never been able to read further than that.
. . . because paragraphs are for pussies.
1. My deodorant has “100% vegetarian ingredients.”
2. License plates I have known recently:
(a) IAN VAGN = normally I can coax some meaning out of even the most truncated platespeak, but this one has me stumped.
(b) IXLNJOY = how nice for you.
(c) OH2B49 = “Oh, to be 49″? This used to be on a Cadillac, now it’s on a Volkswagen Bug, so I assume the owner is regressing. Next it’ll be on a Big Wheel.
(d) IMIN2GI = “I’m into . . .” Gastrointestinal tracts? Galvanized iron? Your boyfriend’s in the army?
(e) MYCTPRS = I finally had to ask the plate owner on this one — it’s on a Mercury Cougar — can you guess? “My cat purrs.”
3. Jackson is “Jackson” to those outside the family unit, “The Nut” to those within the family unit, and either “Booger!” or “Muffin!” when addressed directly.
4. As soon as he realizes someone is in the bathroom taking a big nasty dump Jackson/Nut/Boogermuffin runs on in, makes the sign for “toilet,” and as the offense is being flushed away he waves and says “bye-bye.” Sometimes he’ll blow a kiss. No one taught him to do this.
5. I always thought that if you had no more than three drinks a day you were not an alcoholic. This is a belief I clung to: three drinks no matter what — holidays, weddings, wakes, surviving a tornado — three drinks and into bed. Then Jack saw a TV show that said if you have two drinks a day you’re “at risk.” So pretty much everyone I know (except for the ones in AA) is an alcoholic. Including you because, yes, Jello shots sucked out of your girlfriend’s belly button “count.”
Ah, the first day of Fall. Nothing like celebrating the new season with deathless poetry.
by B. Henderson
of the leaves
the kind that squirts out of a can. pfffft.