Who’s That Growling Under my Bed?

Mama said one night when she was a little bitty girl the grownups were talking politics and had sent her off to beddy-bye when she came running out crying, “Help! There’s a big bad dema-crack under my bed!”

That’s just the way I feel. And it could just as well be a big bad publican or a librarian under my bed! The fear mongers are out! Hard times are coming, the worse that ever was. It strikes fear to my very soul. You think things are bad? they say. Just wait, if you vote for them, you haven’t seen bad yet. Vote for us, we’ll save you and the whole country!

My gosh! My heart’s pounding, my blood is running cold. I’d better run out and vote for our libelators. Except it’s not Election Day yet. I can’t. Darn. But wait a minute, the other side is saying the same thing.

Oh, politics as usual.

How do I Offend Thee? Think on What I Say

(With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I offend thee? Let me count the ways.
I offend thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach when I say good riddance to your
Shackles of propriety. You say I’m not allowed
To have beliefs that differ from your own. Even though such
Beliefs come from my heart and mind only to guide my own life,
Not to inhibit yours. I offend thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. That America
Is the land of freedom to believe as one’s conscience allows,
Not as others say. I offend thee with the breath, smiles, tears,
Of all my life! And, if God chooses, I shall offend thee until death.

Well Blow Me Down and Call Me Flossie

When I was fifteen I worked one summer in Don’s Restaurant in Hazard, Kentucky. My name was Flossie. Don had such a turnover in waitresses he couldn’t remember our names so he used a few favorites remembered from ages past. Assuming there’d been a Flossie, that is. So I said “Blow me down and call me Flossie!” After all, he was paying me fifty cents an hour.

We had a tip box to put our gratuities in (I’m more sophisticated now) to be divided up weekly. Like a good little Flossie I put all my tips, excuse me, gratuities, in the box during the first week but when it came time to receive my cut, I only received four dollars.

I complained to the other girls that my tips, excuse me, gratuities, had been more than that for half-a-day. They laughed at me. “We don’t put it all in,” they said, “just a dollar here and there.” In other words I had shared all my own tips, excuse me, gratuities, with them, but they had shared only a smidgeon of theirs with me. The scale had been weighted to their side. I wondered why they hadn’t told me ahead of time. That’s how green I was. I’m more sophisticated now.

Okay, I said, and the next week I only put in a couple of dollars. But I felt dishonest. “Oh, he knows,” one girl said, “he don’t care.” And, since we were all in cahoots, I figured it was okay. But my conscience still bothered me, just a smidgeon. I’d been taught that rules were rules and were meant to be followed.

Although I never became a corrupt politician, nor even an honest one for that matter, I wonder if that’s how it begins? If we all do it, then it’s okay. Let’s vote ourselves some special benefits, set up different rules, just for us.

Of course none of this is actually vocalized. Most likely they just breathe in that rarefied stink in the air that wafts off the old farts who’ve been corrupting Washington for years, and they know without vocalizing that this is how things are done in Washington, DC.

A Boil on the Presidency?

If you’ve ever suffered from boils you know how painful they are. They have to be lanced and drained in order to heal.

Although I don’t remember the following family story as I was only a toddler, an older brother told me about the days when we lived in poverty due to the early death of our father.

The trouble began with an outbreak of boils. To bring the boils to a head and give relief from the pain our mother applied hot compresses, probably from a solution of Epsom salts, and/or soda and boric acid powder in boiling water.

But more boils continued to break out. Finally, Mom sought the advice of a wise old hill woman who told her we were all suffering from an evil in the blood. She said to have the older boys gather burdock, a weed that was plentiful in the hills, and make a tea from it. Everyone in the family should drink the tea and it would soon remove the evil that was tainting our blood. At last we found relief.

I researched and found that burdock has been used since the Middle Ages as a blood purifier and treatment for boils. As well as a host of other ailments. Interestingly, the article’s advice was: “Do not gather burdock in the wild.”

Evidently because “The roots of burdock closely resembles those of belladonna or deadly nightshade”. Now was that a narrow escape or what? One mistake and the solution to our problem might’ve killed us. Not unlike, I think, some treatments for cancer today that kill the good cells as well as the bad.

What a mixed-up world we live in! Everything appears to come down to trial and error. Pure luck appears to determine the outcome.

I can’t help but wonder what evil force has infected the blood of our country. Rising like a boil to the surface with hate messages running amok.

I can’t help but wonder if there is a boil on the presidency.

2012: Don’t Be a Pee-Post

From my dog Winston’s point of view, everything that sticks up above the ground, and doesn’t move, is a pee-post, there for only one purpose.

So when we walk in the park I have no need to worry about walkers or joggers.  They seldom stand still long enough to be mistaken for a pee-post and often give this old lady and her dog a wide berth.  The occasional walker who does approach quickly backs away as Winston growls ferociously.  I apologize, explaining that my sweet little doggie has become old and cranky.   (I wonder if it’s true that we humans pick dogs that resemble us).

On our walk this morning, however, I thought about it being the last day of the year.  And wondered if I should speak up about what is on my mind.  You know – “speak now or forever hold your peace”.  The “now or never” thought really piles the pressure on.

So, here I am, ending another year into my dotage, realizing that tomorrow I might not remember what I was so angry about today.  Wondering if during the past year I’ve learned anything worth carrying  forward into 2012.  You know, like reaching the end of a page in my checkbook, writing “carry forward” at the bottom and “brought forward” on the next page.  Simple.

Intended or not, something from this year will be carried forward into the next (unless the world ends tonight, not an impossibility) something perhaps stronger, more important than New Year Resolutions.

So, drawing on my most recent experience, or should I say, my most recent gripe, let these words become your guide.  Don’t be a pee-post.  Don’t stand still as others use you to mark out their territory.  Ignore their vile accusations against each other.  That stink in the Iowa air does not come from the hog lots.

You can’t be a doormat if you don’t lie down.  And you won’t be a pee-post if you keep on moving

 

BLACK SUITS AND RED TIES

I’m boiling over, so please excuse me while I vent.

I’ve been teetering off-kilter for awhile but am finally forced to face the truth; the positive crap I’ve projected onto my environment for most of my adult life is just that, pure unholy crap.

Blame it on all those self-help books I absorbed like nectar from the gods. Using them as bricks to build a stupid wall of right thinking Drowning out the negative! Ha! A word of warning. If you keep burying the negative, one day it will jump out and bite you, like it did me and every time you turn on your television you’ll start seeing men in black suits and red ties.

So, here’s a remedy. Find out what you hate, from that pile of crap I just mentioned. Grab a shovel and dig for your life. I mean literally, your life. No more pablum, nicey-nice bullshit. Jump up and down, scream, whatever you feel, just get it out. Make a list. Here’s mine:

I hate elitists, who think they know what’s best for the rest of us. They’re everywhere: in politics, in the media, in academia. Extolling their virtues and our ignorance (we who cling to our guns and religion).

I hate phonies (including elitists) who masquerade as authentic, caring human beings; my dog could teach them a few lessons on integrity.

Most of all I hate the mock gladiators, displaying their weapons of deception and lies, as they parade past me in their black suits and red ties.

Jiggling Their eyes

Odd expressions have always stuck in my mind like burrs to my shoelaces. A few years ago a young woman said to me about her first driving test: “I jiggled my eyes back and forth” so the instructor would think she was looking both ways before she pulled into traffic. Why not just look both ways, I wondered. Why this trying to “look as if”?
But today it struck me that we have a bunch of eye jigglers in the political arena. Not only do they try to “look as if”, they’re also trying to “sound as if”, besmirching two precious words in the English language: INTEGRITY and AUTHENTICITY. Staking a claim to each.
So if you see an eye-jiggling politician spouting his personal possession of these doomed words that no honest person is now able to claim, please do NOT vote for him or her.