Sunday, August 26, 2012

If Queen Elizabeth goes to Mexico I can get her a watermelon

                As I write this, it is 8:43 am and my Daddy is asleep.  This is an unusual event and, after checking to ensure he is breathing, I celebrated with a subdued “happy dance”.  I haven’t had a morning to myself since he moved in almost a year ago.  It is an amazing thing.  It is so quiet in my house.  No slurping of coffee, no muted strains of 1960s country music, no random snorts from Lulu; just peace.  It is so quiet, in fact, that I can almost hear the Hispanic couple in the parking lot of the Super Mercado Y Taqueria across the street from my neighborhood arguing over something that sounds vaguely sinister in their foreign tongue but is more than likely a spat about the mini watermelons that are 2 for $1.  I looked up what they said and sandia does mean watermelon; I thought at first they were saying Santeria which is some sort of voodoo-adjacent black magic thing.  The odd part was the sentence they used online por ejemplo (which is Spanish for “stop saying stuff in Spanish”) was “The watermelon is corky”.  “Esta sandia esta corchosa”.  What does that even mean?  Corky?  I have never used corky in a sentence in reference to a fruit or other foodstuff.  The very few times were in reference to 1980s TV characters from Murphy Brown and Life Goes On respectively.

                All that aside, it is unusual for him to be asleep this long.  I know he awoke at his usual 4:45 am as I started to hum “Up on the Housetop” in my sleep due to his clip-clopping into the kitchen.  And I know that he made and consumed his oatmeal as the remains were left on the table, countertop and sink.  It boggles the mind how he remains overweight as a good percentage of his meals and snacks end up on various surfaces of my home, not counting expected places like the dining room floor or the bathroom.  It is sad that ‘bathroom’ is an unsurprising location for eating.  I once asked him why on earth he would eat food in the bathroom and he asked me, without a shred of shame, “Ain’t you ever needed to (use the restroom) while you were eatin’?”  My reply was to assure him that I had not.  When I followed up with the statement, “If you have to use the restroom, I think you might not actually be hungry”, he looked at me, confused, and said, “But my Popsicle would’ve melted if I waited.”  There are no words, people.  Well, there are words, but none that are fit for thought much less print. 

Caffeine is a stimulant for the average person.  It says so on most packaging.  However, I have come to find that what works for most, does not work for him.  He derives no alleviation from pain with the use of morphine.  I, on the other hand, can’t remember my name when on prescription meds.  I once was issued Vicodin for tendonitis and after I left the doctor’s office, I went home to take said Vicodin and go to bed but before I went to sleep, I called my office and told my assistant that I did not want to be disturbed.  Apparently at some point in the afternoon I called her and yelled at her for calling me.  I remember none of this. 

My father has taken 3 Oxycodone at once with no effect.  None.  On the hand, a pint of chocolate ice cream can cure most any ill, he swears.  People drink coffee to give them an energy boost; to wake them up.  My daddy can fall asleep while drinking a 2 liter of Jolt cola.  I, on the other non-macho hand, can simply say the word caffeine after 6 PM and be up half the night.  It is a sad thing.

                And I was never a coffee drinker.  It’s not that I don’t like it; I just never really had a craving for it.  At least that used to be the case.  Now that my Daddy makes coffee each morning and I drink a cup with him, I’ve gotten used to it.  What I drink is an actual cup of coffee in a regulation sized coffee cup, which if I were to measure probably holds an exact measurement of a cup.  My father states that he drinks 2 cups per day.  What he means to say is that he drinks 2 tureens of coffee per day.  I use a cute little cup and saucer that I got at an estate sale.  It is red with multi-colored polka dots; just enough whimsy to start my day on a good note.  He has commandeered the beer stein my brother brought him from Germany and loudly wonders why I have chosen such an un-macho vessel for my coffee transport. 

                As I like to structure my day in my head before I leave for work, I am not much of a talker in the morning.  It has nothing to do with my mood; I am a morning person and thoroughly enjoy embracing a new day.  Sleep to me is overrated but necessary.  If I am tired, I find that if I can get comfortable and just sit quietly for an hour or so, I am capable of recharging and seizing another part of my day.  My father’s days are pretty much the same and I know this because he gives me a play-by-play each and every morning at coffee and each and every evening at dinner or when I come home, if I’ve had dinner with someone else.  He even gives me the run-down if I’ve had dinner and played Pub Quiz (and won and, yes, I’m bragging) and don’t get home until after 10 pm.  He will wake up and regale me with the minutiae of his evening.  What times he peed, what he did or did not eat (mostly lies and mis-remembered mini-meals based on the food wrappers poorly concealed or containers hastily washed) and what TV shows he did or did not enjoy in between bouts of “nodding” (read sleeping) and furious crocheting.  In the mornings I am entertained by the hourly trips to the toilet and the position and length of times sleeping in those positions.  On his left side on the hospital bed for 45 minutes, on his right side on the bed in the guest room for 2 hours and on his back with his left leg cocked up over the side arm in his recliner for the remainder of the time ‘twixt ten and 4:45. 

                I am like one of those parents whose child left the nest and then returned, unable to find employment thanks to those yahoos in DC.  Full disclosure: I hold a mixture of suspicion and disdain for all political parties unless they are approved by John Stewart.  The only difference between these parents and me is I have a bouncing baby boy of 71.  Such a fun age, full of wonder and excitement.  Potty-trained only in the sense that he knows there is a special room for such activities, but has poor aim.  Like a cat, he does not like baths and like a child who has just received the JC Penney Christmas Catalog, he wants everything he sees that is shiny.  Fortunately this child o’ mine can be left for extended periods of time alone, although he would never throw a party in my absence.  He doesn’t like people enough to do that, except for his home health aide.

 I guess there is a pressure to chat to someone whilst they doctor your nether regions every other day.   The Hows and Whats of their conversations are beyond me as he is hard of hearing and she is El Salvadorian, not “Messican” as he reported after their initial meeting.  I can only imagine the conversation that took place for that piece of information to stick. 

I do know they have at least discussed me on more than one occasion as she seemed oddly familiar when she chastised me for giving him a slice of cake for his birthday the very first time we met.  It’s an odd feeling to have to defend yourself to someone who you’ve never met but is privy to your activities, clandestine or not.  They have also discussed London of all things as he asked if she could borrow (Lord Mayor of London) Boris Johnson’s witty book on the History of that city.  As I have what my father has described as a “metric crap ton” of books, I offered to let her keep it.  I have a rule that I must give away a book each time I buy a new one so this presented an opportunity to raid the local Goodwill for a new tome; this one about the royal sisters, QEII and Margaret.  I love QEII (Queen Elizabeth II, for those not on my wavelength).  I know it is viewed as a betrayal of my generation to not prefer Diana, but I simply do not.  Literally a lifetime of service before self and 60 years of fantastic hat/coat ensembles deserves our admiration, people.  

As I try to remember that, although she is the Queen, she is a regular person to a point and someone’s Granny, I wonder do her ladies-in-waiting get bombarded with the minutiae of her nights and days at breakfast or bedtime.  I would love to read QEII’s diaries. I wonder would she read mine.  I read a pilfered copy of Andy Warhol’s Diaries, from a friend’s ex-boyfriend’s house, not Barnes and Noble, dear readers.  My friends are shady; I am not.  And I use that information to this very day although it’s mostly to recognize the names of those people in those photos of parties that appear in Vanity Fair. 

I suppose I should be happy with my Daddy’s information.  All knowledge is good for something, right?  And it means he is still around to generate said information and that’s a good thing.  If only they had a pub quiz category like “Sleep Patterns and Bad Habits of a Displaced Country Boomer”.  Maybe I’ll suggest it next week.  What?  It’s not any more esoteric a topic than “Bridges of Eastern Europe” or “Attendance Statistics for Sporting Events”, of which I somehow knew the answer for the first Super Bowl.  Incidentally it was not called the Super Bowl, but the NFL-AFL Championship Game.

The answer is 61,000.  And that is all I’m saying.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Do teeth in your pocket count as yours?

                I recent encounter with The Dad was disarming to say the least.  I was cooking his requested “country” food and took him a small bowl for taste-testing purposes.  He usually tells me I need to add salt and pepper and, even though I never add the salt as he has high blood pressure, I always tell him I do and he deems it “just right” upon the second taste test.  The dish tonight was shrimp stir fry.  What?  China is a country.  Anyway, when I took him his little bowl, he had to get his teeth out of his shirt pocket to take a bite.  I was so taken aback that I simply stood there, trying to process that information.  Besides the fact that he had them out of his mouth, they were sharing the overly stretched confines of his shirt pocket with his glasses, phone and a crochet needle. 

                As someone who has spent a small fortune on dental care in recent years, I am hyperaware of both my and other’s teeth.  You could have purchased a car with what I have paid for dental surgery.  Not a new car, mind you, but at least a mid-90s Buick LeSabre; definitely more than you need to spend to have an award-winning smile, as if there are awards for that sort of thing.  Even if there were, I wouldn’t be winning any as the small space between my front teeth is not sexy like Lauren Hutton; it’s simply a space.  A small imperfection in an otherwise normal face, if normal is what you call someone whose eyes are so small there is an assumption of a heritage that is indirectly Asian.

                I’ve always heard that you can tell someone’s fiscal health based on their hair, teeth or shoes.  Having had my hair snipped in both hoity-toity salons and chains like Super Clips, I can tell you there is scant difference between the two (for men, at least) other than you won’t get a hot towel facial at a Super Clips unless your stylist dumps her latte on your head because she is texting/drinking whilst she cuts.  There are texting dangers outside of driving, people.  Where’s the advocacy there? 

And I definitely have excellent shoes.  It’s amazing what you can fit your former canned ham of a foot into when it shrinks right along with your waistline. Yay me and my Johnston and Murphy loving self.

                As someone who did not receive regular dental checkups as a child, due to the lack of dental insurance, I can attest to the fact that poor dental care is a factor of poverty that is difficult to overcome; hence my over-priced but still not award-winning smile.  And that is ok.  I am single-handedly funding my dentist’s daughter’s year abroad and I know she would be grateful were she aware.  And I’m glad to help someone go to Europe, although if I had my druthers it would be me or at least someone who would share photos.

                But, back to the teeth in the shirt conundrum.  What does one say to one’s parent who has just (1) retrieved their teeth and (2) from the confines of any location other than their mouth?  How does one tiptoe past that?  Does one address it?  Does one ignore it?  Does one blog about it?  Apparently, yes to the last question.  And I don’t say this to malign The Dad; he is who he is.  But it’s one of the starkest differences betwixt us.  When I was discussing my upcoming dental surgery and told him the cost he was as taken aback as I was when he asked his home health aide if she’d ever heard a gnat fart.  When I added how much I had already spent, he informed me that I “coulda had all them teeth pulled and got (you) some false teeth and then used all that leftover money to buy me a Harley”.

                And I thought about it; not the Harley part but the pulling teeth and saving money part and I realized that I truly in my heart of hearts wanted to have the teeth with which I was born, still in my head and not in my pocket.  I don’t carry change in my pants pocket as it breaks the line of my trouser.  Why on earth would I want to put teeth there?  I don’t put my phone in my shirt pocket as it skews the drape of the shirt and makes me look messy.  Why on earth would I place teeth there?  I don’t want my teeth anywhere heretofore considered unseemly unless it’s biting into a Susie Cakes cupcake or a corndog at the fair, do you hear me?

                Now I don’t know the reasons behind his false teeth but I do know that his health has been an issue for quite some time.  In all honesty, based on his diet and his lack of exercise since he hurt his back at work in 1989, I am surprised he is still with us.  The man has had eight, count them, eight heart attacks and a stroke and I still have to fight him on whether or not he gets to fry the one steak he is allowed per month as I am doing everything I can to keep from becoming an orphan at 41.  And I have to constantly watch his crazy diabetic butt to keep him from ingesting all manner of ice cream and donuts, all the while lamenting that “the sugar” is going to “take (his) feet”.

                And even after I bullied, tricked and outright lied him into a 40 pound weight loss since he moved in, he remains 65 pounds overweight and it’s been an issue for some time.  Based on photographic evidence I have recently uncovered, he transitioned from pudgy to officially fat sometime in 1974, y’all.  And as a former fat boy, I can tell you that the more weight you have on your body, the more pain you will feel.  Doctors have said that for every pound you are overweight, it’s like four pounds of pressure on your joints.  Imagine walking around with your best friend strapped to your back, unless of course your best friend is crazy skinny like mine was in high school (Hey Paige!).  Then imagine walking around with your best friend and her Mama strapped to your back.

                As someone who has lost 200+ pounds in the last four years (yes, I am bragging), I can attest to the feeling of being able to leap like a mountain goat from peak to peak once you shed the equivalent of a normal-sized person from your person.  However, that feeling quickly passes at the first failed attempt to jump to anything other than the premature conclusion that you are actually in decent shape (see previous bicycling blog). 

I was also sad to find the only thing that changed with my weight loss was a thinner me.  I had the same issues, same problems, same everything, both good and bad, other than a more stylish wardrobe.  And while that is awesome (pastel chinos are a beautiful thing, y’all), it wasn’t the only thing I thought would automatically change.  To find that skinny people are just people who are skinny was an unexpected let down.  And here I talked about y’all all those years.  I apologize profusely to all and sundry.  Well, except for that one girl.  You know who you are.

I have tried everything I can think of to motivate The Dad because further significant weight loss will not take place as his only exercise is walking between his recliner, the bathroom and the kitchen table.  Driving at “full rabbit” on his scooter doesn’t do anything for anyone except keep those in his way unexpectedly exercising lest they be rundown by an aggressive Santa look-alike in a Tractor Supply hat, a stash of contraband Almond Joys hidden in his basket underneath assorted crime novels and packs of Freedent, the gum of choice of denture wearers nationwide.

                The only part of his body that is in any sort of reasonable shape is his mouth, as it gets a constant workout due to his sudden singing of random songs like “Rainbow Stew” and “Why Me, Lord?” and whistling with a talent on par with a songbird, y’all.  It’s a truly amazing sound, like he’s kidnapped a bird and hidden it, like everything else, in his shirt pocket.   I thought about comparing him to the Hager Twins or any other minor members of the Hee Haw gang, but I’m still reeling from the residual shame of admitting I knew the identity of Faron Young in Senior English in high school.  The only other people with that knowledge are in a nursing home and think a blog is something “your Daddy useta get.  It’ll pass.”

And that is all I’m saying.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Forced Lesson in Anatomy

                This past week friends from the East Coast were in town and I spent the day with them in The City, otherwise known as San Francisco.  Jane and Mark had decided that we would spend part of the day exploring the touristy things like the trolley and Lombard St.  They also wanted to rent bikes and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and then take the ferry back.  For reasons I still haven’t quite figured out, I agreed and met them on Wednesday morning.  We walked the mile or so from their hotel to the beginning of the trolley lines. 

Since my weight loss, walking that far is not a big deal.  It used to be a chore to walk anywhere.  Forgetting something in my car once I was inside my loft at the height of my weight (422) and sickness (sarcoidosis) was cause for stress, anger, tears and then the realization that I could live without said item until the following day, unless it was food.  Then I would send my trained parakeet, Excelsior, to fetch the foodstuffs. Full disclosure, it wasn’t a parakeet and his name was Christopher, my long-suffering best friend.

Now that I am down to 200 pounds and not afraid of a little exercise, I felt that I was fully capable of accepting whatever challenge lay before me.  And all was good until we hit Mile 2 on the bikes.  Ignoring the fact that everyone looks ridiculous in a bike helmet, I realized far too late to rectify the situation that the seat of my bike was made of, apparently, a new material that was an iron/cactus hybrid.  My butt cheeks were in agony, y’all. 

We have previously discussed my lack of hind quarters inherited from my Daddy and I can assure you that the sad remnants of my “butt that never was” were on fire.  If my butt could talk, there would have been choice words, dear readers.  Choice words indeed.

 ‘Quads’ is a word that reared its odd little head.  According to Jane, George Dubya’s former physical therapist, I am bereft of developed quads.  It seems that although outwardly I look like I am in reasonable shape, I am actually more akin to an 85 year-old asthmatic than, say, an Olympic runner or even Olympic spectator. Apparently there are different muscles that you use when peddling than you do when walking.  Who knew?  Apparently many people who didn’t major in a liberal art in college.  All this time I thought a quad was that grassy section in the middle of college campuses in movies that need a central point so the completely implausible couple can “meet cute”.  If that couple had gone to the college where I received my undergraduate degree (Mississippi University for Women, or the W), the meeting would have taken place in the cafeteria and the adorable words he/she would have attempted to utter would have been drowned out by the voices of 300 people, mostly women, singing.  Yes, we sang at the W; a lot.

Now quad-less and suddenly fully aware, I wondered could people tell I had immature quads?  Is it a bad thing?  Do I want mature quads?  I decided, yes, I did.  Should I be ashamed that I don’t?  Would my legs have hurt anyway?  And what does it have to do with my butt hurting? Are your quads linked to your butt like that whole leg-bone-thigh-bone song?  Can one acquire quads?  According to Jane, yes you can, but it requires things like squats, lunges and mountain climbers and I remember all too well those hateful, horrible things from my kickboxing classes and I have sworn (literally) on more than one occasion that I shall never partake in any vile activity of the kind that would lead to a more attractive physique.  I am practically unapproachable as it is, people, I don’t want to be so vulgar in my display of awesomeness, right?  Now would be a good time to take a break, maybe have a drink, lest you post something rude about me on Facebook.

However, I am a trooper, as Jane continuously said, and I pressed onward and upward.  Seriously upward, like scaling the side of a mountain.  Have you seen the GGB?  It’s tall, y’all, and I’m not talking like “water tower” tall; I’m talking like “state fair roller coaster” tall.   Don’t judge me.  Have you tried to ride a bike fabricated in some evil Eastern European factory to torment “capitalist pigs” in America to the top of a ferris wheel without a break for water or a panini?  What?  I was hungry from all the quad development.

 Full disclosure:  I pretty much walked a bike to the top of the hill to get on the bridge.  I had tried everything to stay on the seat.  I pedaled furiously then stood on the pedals and coasted.  I even tried to ride sidesaddle.  It was as successful as you would imagine.  So, I created my own rhythm, if you will.  I would bike until I could no longer take the pain, which was around 5 minutes and then I would leap/stumble from the bike and push it along.  Now anyone else would have been irritated to stop and wait for me to catch up, but Jane and Mark are (1) very patient and (2) very much in love.  If they weren’t so darned adorable it would be sickening.  

                Once we got over the middle of the GGB, I was assured, nay promised, that it was “all downhill” to Sausalito.  LIES!  Okay, there is some truth to the downhill-ness of the other side of the bridge but they didn’t mention the continual use of the brake due to the crazed pedestrians who were either high or stupid or both.  Everyone seemed to have the reaction time of a pothead.  For those not in the know, that means slow, like Aunt-Maudie-blowing-out-her-95th-birthday-candles slow, like waiting-for-Christmas-morning-when-you’re-8-years-old slow.  And although medicinal marijuana is legal in CA, I find it hard to believe there has been an outbreak of glaucoma amongst the teens and 20-somethings that make up the English-speaking contingency of the Big-donkeys-who-walk-in-the-bike-lane club.  Once we left the relative confines of the bridge, I was again assured of the downhill journey and the fun that was in store.

                Again, LIES!  Lies and vicious rumors!  There was a slight downward change in grade but not enough to have recalculated the vectors or tensile strength or other random things I vaguely remember as a Journalism major taking Physics in college.  Once I walked my bike through the remainder of the path before reaching the road into Sausalito, I realized that the bike path they encouraged us to take was not a path at all.  It wasn’t even a narrow designated lane beside the road.  There wasn’t even a shoulder for the road.  We simply rode in the road as if we were in cars.  As the people behind me came to realize, I am the vehicular equivalent of a ’77 Plymouth Volare with faulty brakes and a driver who learned to use a standard on the column a full 15 minutes before getting in front of them.

                And suddenly there was a downhill.  A frightfully steep downhill.  And I’m not talking roller coaster steep, I’m talking steep like the mountain they race down at the end of that John Cusack “Better Off Dead” movie from the 80s.  Using gravity for its purpose, I flew past both Jane and Mark, due to my lack of familiarity with proper braking techniques and my zeal to de-bike.  I leapt from the velocipede and walked it reasonably quickly considering I had just escorted it 10 or so miles, through the quaint, overpriced town, my final destination; the reservation desk for the ferry to take me back to the mainland so I could release the beast to its owners and flee as quickly as one can having walked a bicycle 627 miles across the longest bridge in the known universe. 

Having been rebuffed in my quest for something other than “first come, first served” seating, I left my bike on the rack, unlocked; hoping against hope that someone would steal it and I would be free, brothers and sisters!  Free!  The $100 deposit would have been worth it.  I almost felt compelled to throw the bike in the water and feign ignorance of its whereabouts.

                Truth be told, I hadn’t ridden on a bike since the age of around 11 and I remembered quite vividly the reasons and they were two-fold.  Each fold representing a butt cheek.  I have never felt pain like this, people.  Like an angry nightclub bouncer had punched me in the butt crack, if you’ll allow a vulgar metaphor. 

                After some great Mexican food (guacamole can soothe even the most ravaged beasts) we walked those wretched bikes onto the ferry and once we landed back on the Pier, we carried them up a flight of stairs (no, I don’t know why either) and found ourselves at Pier 1, the actual pier, not the trendy home goods store.  We were supposed to have arrived at Pier 41 as that is where we rented these torture devices.  Here’s a tip for the people running Guantanamo Bay.  Forget waterboarding; simply rent a bike and make the prisoners ride across the GGB.  They’ll sing like canaries.  Canaries that’ve been punched in the butt crack, if you’ll pardon a repeat of the afore-mentioned vulgar metaphor.

                “It’s only a 7-minute ride to Pier 41”, chirped the thinking-she-was-being-helpful-but-realizing-it-wasn’t-true-when-she-saw-my-facial-expression young lady who greeted us at the information booth.  Ever the trooper, thank you Jane, I attempted to “saddle up” and try once more.  It was not to be.  The buttocks made one last valiant effort to throw me from the bike and I was compelled to do what made the most sense to me; I hired a pedi-cab to pedal me, holding my bike, to the bike rental stand. 

                I was so tired and hurting that I begged off dinner and returned home where I made the mistake of telling my Daddy what had happened.  As I write this, he is still laughing. And if my physical pain won’t get me a hastily organized prayer circle, my shame should at least get me onto the prayer list somewhere near Aunt Maudie.  She's 95; it's an assumption.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What came first, the chicken or my opinion?

                Before I left home this morning I wrote my Daddy a note telling him where I was going as he was asleep.  And I signed it.  He thinks it’s funny that I sign it because there is no one else in the house.  I think it’s funny that he gets mad when food is eaten and it wasn’t me who ate it and he swears it wasn’t him.  As if Lulu is dexterous enough to forage for, say, a leftover quesadilla that someone ate but apparently didn’t even like, when confronted and ultimately admitted to eating it and then felt no guilt about it even though it was on the other person’s assigned food shelf and the act violated all manner of agreements both understood and unwritten.  But I’m not one to hold grudges.

                I always try to keep him informed of my whereabouts so he won’t get confused about whether or not I’ve forgotten him or am purposefully avoiding spending time with him.  He sometimes laments that he feels as if he lives alone.  I would love to feel that feeling again, even if for just one day.  Although, truthfully, I do like having him here with me.  I didn’t really expect to and at first second-guessed myself but we are having a pretty good time most of the time.  Of course, I am an absolute dream to live with.  I am relaxed and easy-going.  I am not persnickety about my space or belongings.  And I am amenable to the point of being a pushover in all matters.  As long as we’re going down that road, I can also fly, walk through walls and read minds. 

                Anyone who has actually met me knows the afore-mentioned personality traits are not true, but since I am the only one involved in my family that is writing a blog, my opinion should count as his too, right?  Someone has to capture the real me before my biographers start interviewing people in my life and begin piecing together the truth.  Truth has no place on the internet, as you well know.

                Never has this seemed truer than when I perused the comments on my YouTube video recently.  In 2008 I was in a leadership training program called Leadership VA.  The VA stands for (Dept. of) Veterans Affairs, not the state of Virginia.  In this program, we had to write and deliver a 5 –minute speech on any topic.  I chose “Leadership and Life Lessons I Learned Playing Football against My Will in Junior High”.  You can search “Dustin Thompson VA” to see it.  I was a full 220 pounds heavier and swathed in a lime green polo shirt.  You can see me from outer space; prepare yourself.

But that’s not the point.  The point is someone who watched it (550,000 and counting) has asserted that I am a failed stand-up comic with the stage name of Tub O’ Lard and that I recently got into the “Leadership Racket”.  I don’t know whether to be offended or proud or at least invested enough to remember my password and add my own comment refuting his.

While there is a 91% “like” rate, this one guy thought I was unfunny enough to make up something or there is someone who looks and sounds like me who was an unfunny comic.  Now, I may have a physical doppelganger, but a vocal twin would be a new experience.  I have a distinctly odd voice.  Anyone who’s ever heard me talk can attest to that.  It’s a weird Southern, nasal, fast-talking sort of a voice.  As if Mr. Garrett from South Park and Scarlett O’Hara had a baby whose speech teacher was the Family Guy.  Yet somehow they pay me to make speeches.  Thank goodness I’m funny, right? 

And that was the part that hurt a little.  I would like to think if I were a stand-up comic I would at least be ‘Chuckle Hut’ funny, for pity’s sake.  Since I don’t curse (in print) and don’t talk about nasty stuff, I probably wouldn’t make it these days but I like to think that I am, at the very least, funny during a toast at a wedding.  I guess I now know what celebrities feel, on a very, very basic level.  Of course, many of them invite scrutiny.  Anyone who has left home under-garment-less or wearing police tape as a brassiere are begging for comment, but “normal” celebrities like Helen Mirren and Larry Hagman shouldn’t be open to scrutiny just because they are marginally famous.  And I’m not even marginally famous.  I’m not famous at all.  If I were I’d have more money, right?  There are people at work who have asked me every week for over a year if I’m there to perform an inspection.  Apparently a three piece suit looks bureaucratic.  Who knew?

At the very least, if he was going to malign my character, he should have bought my book.  The link is in the video description.  Speaking of, those of you who read this who haven’t bought a copy, shame on you.  If I get one more one (1) figure royalty check (yes, you read that correctly), I may…well, I don’t really have a plan.  Let’s just say you owe it to yourself to enjoy the wonder that is me in print.  If that’s not enough of a reason, then my Daddy needs more sardines and Vienna Sausages.  Well, not need so much as want.  Come to think of it, if I’m poor then I can justify not buying gross things like that.  On second thought, don’t buy my book.  You’re actually improving the air quality just south of San Francisco.  All the heathen thank you.

Getting back to my point, when did it become okay to absolutely make things up about people and post them online?  Where is the integrity of the public, he asked, ruefully laughing to himself.  I think it’s just ridiculous, no make that, depressing what passes for manners and even discourse these days.  Over the past few weeks, I have seen much more information and opinions about people’s sexual politics than is warranted outside of marriage, y'all.  No one should feel surprised that the CEO Chik-Fil-A supports what he calls the Biblical model for marriage.  And that’s his right.  He doesn’t open on Sundays and that is his right.  This is America, isn’t it?  He is entitled to his opinion and if he wants to deny me Chik'n minis on Sunday mornings, he can, although it's just rude.  It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree.  It simply matters that it is his opinion and he can have it if he wants to. 

I have had a lot of people ask me my opinion on gay marriage and I am wisely staying out of that whole argument because it shouldn’t be an argument.  It should be a discussion instead of a name-calling, lockstep, for or against shouting match.  Why do I have to agree with everything you say or be your enemy?  Am I not allowed to have my own opinion?  I don’t even always agree with everything I say; why on earth do you expect me to agree with everything you say.

While I am not a Biblical scholar, I did compete in Bible Drill and have been going to church since long before I came out of my Mother’s womb during the second of her three virgin births, as we have previously discussed.  I know what the Bible says.  I also know what many Biblical scholars and theologians have said about what is consider law and what is considered Jewish customs at that time in history.  And if these people, who have spent their entire careers studying the Bible, can’t agree on the interpretation of the intended nuance of a word, then how the heck do you expect any of the yahoos who are butchering the English language in a sound bite on a cable news show at this very minute, to make sense of what Jesus did or did not say.  I don’t even know for certain, said the man who tries to pretend he isn’t an intellectual snob.

Who cares who somebody parties with/dates/marries/lusts after, etc.  I surely don’t care who Bo Jimmy Jack, She’quan’de or Kieran have decided to join together lest many men put assunder, if we're going to bring up traditional marriage/divorce statistics, Mr. Gingrich.  As long as they don’t consummate their love in front of me or within earshot, I let them be.  I don’t want you to be interested in what I do in my house because I can assure you I have far too many other things to worry about than what you are doing in yours.  Lord knows, managing my Daddy is a full time job.  And managing your life should be.  Maybe if you spent more time worrying about your own stuff you wouldn’t have an unhappy spouse and/or horrifyingly rude and disrespectful children who ran into me with their cart because you left them to their own devices at the Safeway while you drank your mocha chino at the Starbucks stand chatting with your equally offensively dressed “friend” of indeterminate gender.  Again, I’m speaking in vague generalities.

What we should be paying attention to is the state of our nation and the crooks that seem to be intent on running our country into the ground.  We can’t be bothered to pay attention to or fight back against the politicians who are spending us into becoming the largest colonial outpost of mainland China and reducing our educational system to not even a memory of what it was, but, boy howdy, we will take up arms to support a chicken franchise that “took a stand” for “American values”.  And you know what this accomplished in the end?  All you did was make people who already planned to eat there because it’s convenient take three times as long to get their food, made them late getting back to work and cost taxpayers (of whom many, but certainly not all, of you are) a ton of money in lost productivity.  And nobody bothered to bring me a sandwich.  Selfish.

                I don’t normally get off on a political tangent, but I have had enough of this mess clogging up Facebook.  I want to see important things like whose kids won what sporting event, how many weird foods my friends have eaten and the eleventy-hundred hourly postings from my friend Stacy O’Quinn Kidd.  Hey girl! 

And by the way, just so you’ll understand, if Jesus were living amongst us today, he wouldn’t be the gleaming-toothed, overly styled televangelist preaching a life of monetary success for a few minutes of prayer each week.  He would also not be a white guy; there is no enclave of white Europeans in Damascus despite the paintings that you and I grew up seeing at church.  He would be the Middle Eastern man who makes you nervous when you’re in line at Starbucks, especially the Starbucks at the airport.  And he’d be hanging around with all those that some segment of society deem “less than”, like gays (who I mostly like; drag queens are a bit much at times) or politicians (who I sometimes like; pundits are a bit much at times) or people who ride Segways and think they’re cool (who I never like and want to push over all the time).  Why?  Because He loves, say it with me, everybody.    

And for all the people who have just been offended by this portrait of Jesus and who just inhaled very sharply and are now trying to calm themselves before they unleash the fury of what they feel is righteous anger, calm down, for pity’s sake.  You shouldn’t even care what my opinion might be. 

But I would like to point out if, during the course of your life and based on your actions and the outward expressions of your heart, you have to constantly remind people that you are in fact a Christian, odds are you aren’t acting like one.  Said one sinner to another.