Saving Simone From Hellfire And Brimstone

Most Jews Don't Believe In Hell. I Do And I'm Pretty Sure It Involves Arkansas, A Trailer, And A Guy Wearing A Wifebeater (Image via Wikipedia)

In Miami, it’s practically impossible to grow up surrounded by anything but diversity. My family moved there when I was six, but I first discovered I wasn’t in Kansas (okay, Sarasota) anymore when I noticed that many of our neighbors in our new apartment complex had nailed skinny, metal plates with strange lettering painted on them in their doorways at crooked angles. The OCD side of me wanted badly to straighten them, but they were clearly meant to be that way. Either that or they’d all hired a handyman with balance issues to hang what I later discovered to be their mezuzahs.

Until we moved to Miami, I’d never known a Jewish person. I’d known two midgets – both of whom had appeared in The Wizard of Oz, a dwarf and a girl who’d worn braces on her legs, but that was as interesting as it had ever gotten for me. No black people. No Latinos. No Asians. No Indians (dot, not feather). I didn’t eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich until I was fully five years old. Clearly, I’d been sheltered. Of course, having been raised in the Assemblies of God church, I knew of Jews. Theywere God’s chosen people. As far as I was concerned, the Jews received all kinds of special treatment from God, while us “Born Agains” were the red-headed step-children of the world.

Munchkins - I Knew The Middle Ballerina, But No Jews (Image via

Of course, it took some time for me to discover that these nice people with whom my parents socialized  and with whom I played in the pool, were different from me in any way. They looked the same. Except for the occasional foreign-sounding word, they sounded the same. In fact, they spoke more like me than my German grandmother, who peppered every sentence with words like hündchen and danke schön and bitte and auch du liebe. Unlike Grandma, all of our adult Jewish friends read The Miami Herald, rather than a newspaper written in a foreign tongue. Not to say that I didn’t pick up a little Yiddish. In fact, I was the only first grader at Westwood Christian School who, when something went wrong, often shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oy vey.” With a New Jersey accent, courtesy of Mrs. Schwartz in 3B.

As I discovered our differences, it became immediately apparent that they were minor. Some of our holidays were different, but it didn’t stop us – kids and adults alike – from dressing up for Halloween every year or celebrating one another’s birthdays. The introduction of Matzo ball soup into our diet was no stranger to me than I’m sure the butter and sugar sandwiches – a nod to my mother’s European heritage – was to them. The only truly distinguishing characteristic I could make out between my family and our Jewish friends was the fact that they seemed to possess no interest in converting others to their religion. Jews, apparently, didn’t recruit.

Protestant Christians make the U.S. Army look like amateurs when it comes to recruiting. “Be All That You Can Be” just can’t compete with “Become A Christian Or Burn In Hell For All Eternity.” Sure, the Army’s got the GI Bill and on-the-job-training, but compare that to eternity in a mansion encrusted with diamonds and precious stones and streets paved in gold surrounded by angels playing harps, and, suddenly,  free college tuition in exchange for risking your life for several years doesn’t seem like such a bargain. During chapel at school, we were urged to share the gospel with our non-believing friends because we didn’t want them to spend an infinite number of years screaming from the pain of hellfire and brimstone raining down on them, now did we? Born with an innate sense of guilt that any Jewish mother would have been proud of, I bore the weight of the world upon my shoulders on a daily basis as it was. To add the fate of my friends’ immortal souls to that mix was unbearable. I had to lighten the load.

U.S. Army - Amateur Recruiters Compared To Protestants (Image via

At the time, my closest friend was a pretty, raven-haired girl, we’ll call Simone. Half Jewish, the future of her soul concerned me more than some of my other friends in the apartment complex because her dolls were always naked. Barbie – naked. Even worse, Ken – naked. Absolutely shocking, Donny and Marie – naked and sometimes lying on top of each other. It’s not like they didn’t have clothes, she just didn’t choose to dress them in them very often.

Marie Osmond - Singer, Actress, Object Of Donny's Unnatural Affections (Image via

Playing dolls at her apartment was like witnessing the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah over and over again. When we’d play Barbies, in my head, my Ken doll – his red bathing suit having never been removed since it was delivered to me factory-fresh – was Lot, Malibu Barbie was his wife, and Skipper and the Bionic Woman were his two daughters. Once poor “I’m-a-little-bit-country” Marie Osmond had been mounted by one of several paramours, including her brother and The Bionic Man, my dolls would turn their backs to the plastic orgy, climb The Twin Bed Mountain and wander off into the wilderness of Simone’s Wonder Woman bedspread. Being the Christian that I was, I didn’t even allow Malibu Barbie to glance back longingly at the brimstone falling down on the heads of her comically-proportioned, nude girlfriends. I mean, she was my best Barbie. It would have done none of us any good if she’d turned into a pillar of salt. Of course, back then I didn’t realize that Lot’s two daughters later got him drunk so that they could have incestuous relations with him. They didn’t teach that part of the story in Sunday School.

Though I was now seven, I had not yet developed the savvy conversion techniques possessed by our pastor. However, I’d listened carefully in church and I knew what selling points had worked on me. Still, this would be my first attempt at witnessing as they called it. What if I flubbed it? Would Simone give me a second chance to win her soul for God’s army of Christian soldiers? Inexperienced as I was, I became determined to save my friend’s precious, immortal soul. After all, if I didn’t, who would I play naked Barbies with in Heaven?

One afternoon, as we sat in front of my wooden dollhouse amusing ourselves with my Barbies (dolls that were between nine and thirteen inches high, plastic and not of the baby variety were collectively called Barbies  then), all of which were fully-clothed (my apartment, my rules), it became apparent to me that I couldn’t put it off any longer. Simone, despite my warnings, undressed Malibu Barbie, presumably so the doll could take a bath in the pink whirlpool tub my parents had given me for my birthday the year prior. Making the situation even worse was the fact that the tub was located on the third floor of the dollhouse – in the master bedroom. And who do you think was seated in that room, on the bed, his head turned so that he stared directly at the plastic, jetted bathtub? Ken. Who’s mouth was practically salivating in anticipation of seeing Malibu Barbie’s uncovered boobies and hoo hoo? Ken. Who was being corrupted by a seven-year-old Jezebel intent upon bringing sin into my dollhouse? Ken. Poor, fully-dressed in a winter coat in the middle of April, celibate Ken.

One Naked Barbie In A Jacuzzi Can Lead To An Orgy - Keep Barbie Clothed! (Image via

As Simone plopped the naked and voluptuous blonde into the tub, I handed her a miniature bikini. “Put this on her,” I said firmly.

“But she’s taking a bath.”

“No, she’s soaking. Our parents don’t get naked in the Jacuzzi.” I could feel my nostrils flaring and my chest turning splotchy and red, a signal that I was becoming uncomfortable.

“That’s because the Jacuzzi’s outside,” Simone said, a smirk overtaking her perpetually-tanned face. “This one’s inside their bedroom.”

Oh. As if that explained everything. As if nakedness was okay just because it was confined to the walls of a plywood room intended for sleeping. Simone had a lot to learn and there was no time like the present. God forbid she should die in a horrible car accident the following day; certainly she’d end up sitting on the right hand of the devil, little horns sprouting through her shiny, dark bob and a long, red, spiked tail emerging from you-know-where and curling around her ankle. So, right then and there, I shared my secret with her.

Simone's Future - Before Being Born Again (Image via

Blinking back my tears, I confided, “Simone, I’m very concerned about you.”

“Why?” she asked, discarding the blue and white bathing suit I’d handed her moments earlier into a pile of doll-sized clothes.

With two fingers, I plucked from the mess of clothes, the red one-piece that Malibu Barbie had worn the day she arrived under my Christmas tree two years prior. Tossing it at Simone, I casually said, “Because if you continue on this way, you’re going to burn in a lake of fire in Hell for all eternity.” I looked pointedly at the crimson bathing suit, now resting on her thigh, and then at the naked doll, who I’m sure was mortified to be stared at by Ken in a way that must have made her feel objectified.

The young girl’s forehead creased and I swear she snickered. “No, I’m not.” Snatching the bathing suit up, she folded it into the palm of her hand and tightened her fingers into a fist, before releasing her grip and allowing the crumpled bit of nylon to fall back into the pile from whence it had come. Clearly, fear-mongering wouldn’t work with this one. I doubted she’d ever become a Republican.

Okay, I’d take another tack. “Yeah, you will. But that’s fine. I mean, I just thought you’d like to hang out with me in my mansion.”

One eyebrow cocked skeptically, Simone retorted, “You don’t own a mansion.” But she hesitated. She waited. I’d caught her interest.

My Crib In Heaven. Damn! Makes Me Wish I Still Believed In The Place. (Image via

“I will. When Christians go to Heaven, they each get one,” I said, conveniently leaving about the part about dying first.

“Says who?” Simone was as tough as a vanilla wafer that had fallen between the sofa cushions and remained undiscovered for months.

Rolling my eyes as though the answer were obvious, I answered, “Jesus.” The name prompted a blank stare from Simone. “You know, the Son of God.” This earned me a half-hearted shrug of her sun-kissed shoulders. Sighing deeply, I dutifully recited: John 14:2. ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ I was so certain and dogmatic in my belief system as a second-grader in the Seventies, I’m glad I wasn’t born in another place and at another time – like Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. I’d have been running around handing out pamphlets and quoting The Communist Manifesto.

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction - Don't Fuck With A Black Man Quoting The Scripture While Pointing A Gun At You - Or A Dogmatic Seven Year Old (Image via

“Huh?” Simone said, her eyes widening. I’m not sure if her confusion was because another seven-year-old was quoting scripture or if she just had no idea what I was talking about. Looking back now, I realize that they only thing separating me from Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction at that particular moment was the absence of a gun and an afro. Perhaps it wasn’t confusion in her eyes, but terror.

“It’s from the New Testament.

“What’s that?” she asked, her eyes never leaving my face. I’m also pretty sure scooted back a little, putting a good foot of green shag carpeting between the two of us.

“It’s part of The Bible,” I said incredulously. “It’s the sequel to the Old Testament.” Finally, Simone’s head nodded in recognition. “Anyway, that’s not important. What’s important is that when Christians go to Heaven they each get a mansion and the streets are paved with gold and there are diamonds and rubies and sapphires, like, everywhere. Even the gates are made completely of pearls.”

My friend’s eyes grew even larger and her lips formed a perfect “O.” Fear had been replaced with good old fashioned greed.

“And you get crowns. Jeweled crowns.” I vaguely remembered the pastor saying something about crowns. “And princess dresses and a pony.” Now I was just making stuff up, but deep in my heart, I was certain that God wouldn’t give me diamonds, yet refuse me a Shetland pony. What kind of Heaven would that be? And He sure as heck wouldn’t make me run around in my blue plaid parochial school jumper. That would just be cruel.

Shetland Pony - How Else Am I Supposed To Get Around Heaven? Golf Cart? (Image via

“Crowns are for boys,” Simone insisted, folding her arms tightly against her chest. “I want a tiara.”

Of course, she did. All girls want a tiara. “That’s what I meant,” I added quickly. “The boys get crowns and the girls get diamond tiaras.” C’mon. I was so close. Simone was salivating more than Ken with his prime time view of Porn Star Barbie. I could see the wheels in her head spinning; I could practically hear the whirring and clicking of the gears in her brain as she processed this new information about Heaven and how it might benefit her to give Christianity a go.

“I want one with sapphires. That’s my birthstone,” she said, her eyes narrowing. I smiled and nodded, indicating that it was a done deal. “Okay.” Simone shook her head. “What do I have to do?”

A Sapphire and Diamond Tiara - Everybody's Got Their Price And This Was Simone's (Image via

As simply as I could, I explained that she just had to believe with all her heart that Jesus Christ was the Son of God –  the Golden Ticket that would magically open up the Pearly Gates (still leaving out the minor you’ve-got-to-be-dead-to-go-to-Heaven component) so that she could gain entry to her new life as a jewel-encrusted, Lady of the Manor – and that he had died on a cross and rose from the grave three days later. That’s when the fear crept back into her stare and she slid backwards another foot on the carpet. I’m pretty sure she had a really bad case of rug burn by the time this whole ordeal was over.

“What do you mean he died on the cross?” she asked. For some reason, a guy nailed to a wooden cross, a crown of thorns cutting into his scalp, who’d been stabbed and was going to eventually croak was a bit traumatizing for her. The happy, shiny Heaven story had suddenly turned into an Edgar Allen Poe tale of murder, with a ghostly apparition rising wispy and fog-like from a cracked gravestone.

In homage to my future legal career, I hurriedly glossed over the carnage. “Oh, it’s no big deal. He comes right back a few days later. And He’s fine. Just a few scars.” I pointed to my hand with my finger as though a hole clear through your palm was the equivalent of a pockmark. Still, Simone’s face remained doubtful. “Look, Jesus is up there with God in Heaven right now. Their thrones are right next to each other’s.” I painted a cozy picture of father and son, plopped down in adjacent recliners with their feet propped up, watching an episode of Sanford and Son together and laughing every time Redd Foxx fakes another heart attack or argues with Ernestine.

The Holy Trinity Recliner Set - The Holy Spirit Sits In The Middle Since He's Invisible (Image via

Soon, her forehead uncrinkled and she agreed to move forward. Then I helped Simone kneel and instructed her to pray to Jesus, asking Him to forgive her for all the sins she’d committed and informing Him that she was now accepting him as her personal Savior. When she was finished, I’d expected her body to convulse with a jolt of Born Again power. This is what always happened at church. The wicked sinner would kneel before the pastor, say the prayer and then the pastor would touch the new Christian’s forehead, causing him to fall back, shuddering, as if he’d been shocked with an animal prod. When Simone remained upright, I tentatively touched her brow with my finger tip. Nothing. Next I tried pushing her backwards using a tad bit more force, but either the Jesus Juice wasn’t flowing through her loins quite yet or she had figured out what was expected of her and was resisting. Frustrated, I finally flicked her hard – just below her hairline – with my thumb and finger, prompting her to wince and yell, “Ow.” Okay, it wasn’t  a convulsion, but it was something.

“You’re done,” I announced, digging the tiny, red bathing suit out of the clothing pile and handing it to her. Without another word, Simone quietly removed Malibu Barbie from her bath and slid the one-piece onto her plastic body.

A week later, Mr. Adams, Simone’s non-Jewish father, cornered me by the public bathroom at the complex’s community pool. Dripping wet and chilled, I stared up into his contorted, angry face, and shivered uncontrollably as he launched into a diatribe that would have frightened a Mafia Don. I was emphatically informed that despite the fact that Mr. Adams was a Christian, Simone was being raised Jewish and I was to never try to convert her to a different religion again. As I cringed before this man twice my size, I thought of missionaries who’d been murdered in the rain forest for trying to save the souls of indigenous tribe members. What horrendous fate would I suffer in the name of spreading the Gospel? Before I could imagine myself being burned at the stake or my severed head dangling from the fist of a savage, pagan head hunter, it was over. At least, I thought it was. Mr. Adams had turned away, taking his shadow with him, leaving me panting from the adrenaline rush in the bright sunshine.

I Feared I'd Lose My Head Trying To Spread The Gospel (Image via

Suddenly, he twisted around and hissed, “And don’t you ever tell Simone that she’s going to burn in Hell again. You got that?” I nodded silently, my heart pounding in my throat.

Hah! I knew it. Simone had been scared shitless at the concept of swimming in a one million degree lava lake. I’d sold her from the beginning, but she’d held out for a sapphire tiara. Maybe she’d turn out to be a Republican after all.

Fear-Mongering Born Again Christians or Republican Presidential Candidates? (Image via

I Love The Smell Of Napalm In The Condo (Or How I Farted And Got Away With It)

Scene Of The Alleged Attack (Image via

As I open the condo door, I immediately notice that the space is flooded in darkness. One arm outstretched to prevent my clients from entering the unit and breaking something that would best remain unbroken, I feel around blindly with my left hand, my fingers searching the wall for the light switch. Click. A vintage fixture with warty bumps spread across the surface of its milky glass – likely original to the Kennedy era with its our-President’s-so hot-we- should-buy-a-place-at-the-beach attitude – flickers brightly for a moment overhead, then dims slightly, casting the foyer in a jaundiced glow.

My clients’ eyes travel the arc from hall closet to ceiling lamp to light switch, unimpressed. “Did you see that flicker, Josh? We should have the home inspector take a look at the wiring, don’t you think?” Marlene blinks at me several times, apparently waiting for me to agree.

“Absolutely,” I say. “That’s, uh, what a home inspector does. If he thinks there’s a problem with the electricity, he’ll definitely recommend that we bring in an expert.”

“Expert?” Marlene echoes, frowning. Now Josh is staring at me, his head cocked like a supermodel who just heard another two syllable word she couldn’t comprehend.

“Yeah, an electrician.” I nod. No response from the Peanut Gallery. “You know, an expert. On electricity. An electrician.”

Josh’s neck remains bent at a perfect 30 degree angle. Pursing her lips, Marlene finally asks, “Well, then why are we paying for a home inspector? I mean, if he can’t fix it…” She turns to Josh. “Am I right? For three hundred bucks, he should be able to fix a stupid wire.” Returning her gaze to my face, she blinks again. And again. And again. How can one person blink that often? You’d think her eyelids would tire and close from fatigue. “So why can’t he fix it, Cristy?”

“Because he’s a home inspector, not a home fixer. He’s going to check out everything: the A/C, all the appliances, the plumbing, the windows, the roof, the electricity. Everything,” I reply, resisting the urge to say: Because he’d have to be a goddamned genius to be able to repair all the things he inspects, and geniuses cost a hell of a lot more than three hundred bucks an hour. I find myself blinking in time with Marlene’s eyes. It’s contagious. Like yawning. I hope our periods aren’t also synching as we stand here in the friggin’ doorway. “Why don’t we head inside? I’m sure you can’t wait to see the place again.”

Leading the way, I begin the ceremony of turning on the air, clicking on lights, and opening curtains and blinds. Sunshine streams through the windows, illuminating the fact that the faux-bamboo dining room set that was long ago painted yellow and speckled with brown paint to give it that chic Seventies antique finish is hopelessly ugly. And not the least bit antique-looking. More like freckled. Why would anyone want a freckled set of furniture? Just looking at it reminds me that I need to make an appointment with my dermatologist. “Like I mentioned before, if you want to get top dollar as far as rentals go, you’ll want to go ahead and update the decor.” And the flooring. And the cabinetry. And the appliances. And the – oh, just gut the damn thing and start from scratch.

Freckles - Fine On Faces, Not On Furniture (Image via Wikipedia)

Crossing her arms against her chest, Marlene shakes her head of bouncy dark curls. “Oh, I don’t think it’s so bad. And the rental figures looked pretty good to me. Am I right, Josh?” Her husband nods. Clients never listen. Yeah, the numbers aren’t bad, but they could be fantastic. But these people are cheap. And stupid.

For what it would cost to buy some new furniture, they’ll hire a photographer to bring in professional lighting and snap fish-eyed pictures of the rooms so that they appear wider and brighter. He’ll avoid close-ups of the artificially pigmented chairs. With Photoshop, he’ll texturize the matted, rust-colored shag so that it looks like a high-end, stained concrete floor or, maybe, custom terra cotta tiles. His kitchen shot will be taken from a boat floating in the middle of the bay, so that he can get far enough away to disguise the fact that the cabinets are made of cheap, peeling formica, and that their brass handles are rusted and have taken on the patina one usually only finds on Greek coins discovered in shipwrecks. Oh, and the dishwasher is avocado, but the refrigerator is not. Think Harvest Gold. Think disco.

Of course, my clients will get suckered into paying for a Virtual Tour, a travesty of the technological age designed to make one both dizzy (from the circular spinning motion originally intended for rides involving flying elephants) and thirsty (from the tropical, steel drum beat that accompanies the tour and subliminally instructs the viewer to make themselves a frozen drink doused with half a bottle of rum). Apparently, head spinning and drunk, the viewer will inadvertently hit the “Rent” button on the Virtual Tour and won’t sober up in time to take advantage of the 12-hour cancellation policy. The problem with this scheme is that my clients won’t garner many repeat customers. Once a tenant discovers that the full bay view can only be seen by leaning over the balcony railing and craning one’s neck while holding a mirror, he or she is unlikely to return, especially when the décor screams Three’s Company.

Three's Company Set - Would You Want To Vacation Here? (Image via

I wave my hand, signaling my clients to follow me. With the hard heels of Marlene’s designer sandals already clicking and clacking on my last nerve, I head towards the smaller of the two bedrooms – the one I call The Green Room. Interestingly enough, the only things in the room that color are the sheer drapes. If it’s possible for something to be both translucent, yet saturated with a color so intense, it’s hypnotic, then such greatness was achieved in the manufacturing of these curtains. Looking at them is much like staring directly into the bottom third of a traffic light – that’s as bright as the sun and only five inches away from your nose. Even though you feel your corneas melting, you can’t peel your eyes away. Shielding my own peepers with my hand, I quickly whip the sheers apart and yank the blinds upwards. As the light hits the curtains, the room bursts into color, the walls, the bedding, the lamp shades, the dresser all drenched in an electric lime shade that won’t be quelled by anything but the blackest of nights – or a blow torch.

“I really think the curtains should go,” I suggest firmly. Hearing no response, I spin around to discover the Manescos transfixed, irises aflame. At least Marlene has stopped blinking. Physically, I turn them around and steer them towards the closest bathroom for cold compresses and a few out-of-date Tylenol I discover in the mirrored medicine cabinet.

I leave them admiring the Land Rover-sized walk-in closet (the one thing a vacation rental doesn’t need) in the master bedroom with its I Love Lucy double beds, as I return their water glasses to the kitchen. It’s then that I realize I’m in trouble. Earlier that morning, my rather sensitive stomach had thrown a tantrum, as troubled, misunderstood organs often do. Having calmed it with Rolaids and positive affirmations (“What a good tummy! No one digests better than you. You have the strongest enzymes I’ve ever seen.”), it was now acting up again, except this time it recruited my intestinal tract in some sort of digestive system mutiny.

Some people cry prettily. Some people look fabulous the moment they wake. Some people can experience abdominal distress with no apparent outward symptoms. I can’t do any of the aforementioned. If even one miniscule tear dares drip its way down my cheek, my face reddens, puffing up as though I’d eaten a bucket of peanuts while subjecting myself to a thousand bee stings simultaneously. Moreover, my eyes swell shut, so not only am I temporarily blinded, but I resemble Sylvester Stallone after he’s had the shit kicked out of him – or so I’ve been told. I couldn’t see myself in the mirror to confirm this fact. It’s dangerous for me to watch a film as benign as The Notebook since strangers in the theater have been known to rush me to the emergency room against my will, claiming I’m suffering from anaphylactic shock and or that I’ve just lost a prize fight.

Professional Boxer Or Me After Watching The Notebook (Image via

So as I stand here in the kitchen, rinsing the glasses in the chipped enamel sink, I know I will not be able to hide this problem for long. Much like Jim Carrey’s seemingly-elastic face, my abdomen has the ability to stretch at will, distending itself to the point that I am, once again, often rushed to the emergency room by complete strangers who insist that I’m either about to give birth to sextuplets, or I’m the whitest and most malnourished African person they’ve ever seen. Either way, they’re certain I need a doctor. The strain of my rapidly bloating tummy against the unyielding waistband of my skirt is becoming painful. I can feel the fabric cutting into my flesh and hear my abdominal muscles snickering in front of my back: Wish you’d done a few crunches now, dontcha Flabby?

There is only one way to prevent my clients from demanding to know how I became impregnated with multiples in the short time it took to walk to the kitchen and rinse their glasses. No, I can’t stand behind the sofa or carry a large briefcase in front of my belly for the rest of the season. I don’t own a briefcase, my purse is the size of a Hershey’s Miniature, and the sofa’s one of those nubby vintage numbers that only comes up to my knees. One solution exists. What is that? As my Aunt Kay likes to say, “Better out than in.” I have to release the pressure. Yes, I’m going to fart.

No biggie, Cristy, I tell myself. Just let one rip right here in the kitchen and no one will ever have to know. The Manescos are way on the other side of the condo, holding cold washcloths over their eyes while oohing and ahhing about all the bathing suits their guests will be able to hang in the walk-in closet they can only see with the tips of their fingers. I know I’m right. Pavarotti could come back from the dead right this moment and belt out “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot in front of the Harvest Gold refrigerator, and Marlene and Josh wouldn’t hear a thing. But then I remember The Morning Incident.

Earlier in the day, when only my most pwecious tum-tum was rebelling, I had also passed a little gas from my ass in order to zip up my plaid skirt, so I could jump in the car to head off to meet my clients. To say that the impact of my decision to float that air biscuit was devastating to not only my olfactory nerves and the glaze on the bathroom tiles, but fatal to my window herb garden, would be an understatement. I say this because I sprinted from the house as though it was ablaze and I haven’t been able to fully assess the damage yet. I can’t even let myself think about Fluffy. Stop it! Don’t think about her sweet, formerly-whiskered face singed beyond recognition. Seriously, cut it out! They’ll grow back.

Fluffy - Just Moments After The Morning Incident. Forgive Me! (Image via

Needless to say, the stench from The Morning Incident had been incredible – a combination of rotting eggs, Limburger cheese, skunk spray, wet dog, sulfur and Egyptian-era toe jam, tinged with a straight shot of shit and Cool Ranch Doritos. As my husband likes to say, “What crawled up your ass and died?” Don’t think about Matt! I’m sure he made it out in time. He can hold his breath for several minutes. There is no way I can be flatulent in this kitchen without my clients being exposed to the toxic odor and, possibly, suffering irreparable neurological damage – if not worse. And I’m pretty sure my Errors and Omissions insurance doesn’t cover death by butt burp.

Suddenly, it occurs to me that a solution exists. I need merely to make it outside. Though the fetid fumes will likely linger even in the open air, they can easily be blamed on car exhaust, nuclear disaster or a recently discovered open grave filled with thousands of rotting corpses just down the street. Waddling past the pantry and down the hall as fast as my bulging belly will allow, I realize this may be a mistake. Though hot air typically rises, in this case, my tightening waistband is acting as an intestinal tourniquet. That, combined with my rapid side-to-side movement, has made farting no longer a kind choice on my part, but an immediate order issued by a not-so-benevolent dictator, a.k.a. My Digestive Tract. And at this particular second, My Digestive Tract is making Hussein, Mussolini, Stalin, and Gaddafi look like a bunch of little girls with blond ringlets whose worst offense is burning ants with a magnifying glass.

Was St. Anthony Plagued By Demons - Or My Farts? (Image via Wikipedia)

Tightening my sphincter and squeezing my butt cheeks together as tightly as possible, I hurry my steps, the front door finally in sight. As my fingers brush the rounded knob, I feel a sense of relief pass over me. I made it. I can relax now. Oops. No, I can’t. Not just yet. But it’s too late. Out it comes. There’s no need to describe the birth of this particular fluffer doodle. One need only know that it was born with cloven hooves, fangs, talon-tipped wings and horns that could gore the fastest and strongest of matadors. Silent, but deadly, it clawed its way from its anal womb and immediately soared around the foyer, spreading its evil scent throughout the room in the same way a tomcat marks its territory. Don’t think about Fluffy!

Before I can open the door, wave my arms and scream, “Napalm attack. Everybody run for cover!” I hear the sound of footsteps. In particular, the distinctive click of Marlene’s Jimmy Choos on the tiled hall floor. There’s nothing I can do.

“I don’t know what Cristy is talking about,” comes Marlene’s distinctive whine. “Green is perfect for the bedroom. Such a soothing color. Conducive to sleeping. Am I right?” Though I can’t see him yet, I imagine Josh nodding – then gasping for breath and scratching at his throat with his fingernails as the gas burns through his esophagus, slowly suffocating him. The only reason I’m still alive is that I’m somewhat immune, having been exposed on many previous occasions.

A moment later, Marlene and Josh round the corner, the first, blinking once again, and the latter, nodding wearily. I can’t believe it. No reaction whatsoever to the fog of Agent Orange hanging in the air like a veil of pungent death. Perhaps I’m oversensitive. Perhaps Marlene has her own digestive disorder and has developed a similar immunity. But wait. No. There it is. The wrinkling of Marlene’s prominent nose. The grimacing of her glossed lips. “What’s that odor?” she shrieks. “Omigod! It’s awful. Am I right, Josh?” This time, Josh doesn’t nod. Instead, his head rears back like a panicked horse who’s just encountered an angry diamondback rattling its tail less than a foot away. Except the rattlesnake is my barking spider.

Go ahead. Say it. It smells like a goddamned fart. Say it, Marlene. Ask the question you’re dying to ask.

She sniffs the air. I must admit that she’s braver than I thought. Taking a few short steps toward the closet, she inhales another whiff. Thrusting out her hand, she yanks the louvered door open and sniffs again. The woman deserves a medal. And then she asks the question. “Is there something wrong with the A/C? It smells bad. Like sulfur. Am I right?”

Okay, that wasn’t the question I was expecting. I was thinking more along the lines of: “Did you break wind, Cristy?” Yeah. I may have also broken a few light fixtures in the process. And your lungs. “Umm, I don’t know, Marlene,” I respond hesitantly.

“Oh, God. You don’t think there’s mildew or something in the HVAC system, do you? I’ve got really bad allergies, you know.” Her forehead creases and the blinking commences. “You’ll have the home inspector look at it, won’t you?” she asks, her eyelids suddenly fluttering so fast they’ve turned invisible like a hummingbird’s wings. There’s now an oddness to her face, but I can’t quite place what it is.

“Of course.” Is this woman serious? The tragic photo of the young, naked Vietnamese girl running, arms outstretched, after being severely burned in a napalm attack is more along the lines of what I was anticipating, but Marlene’s only concern is whether or not there could be mold in the air conditioning system. “I don’t think it’s mold, though. It doesn’t smell like mold,” I say. “Mold smells – you know – moldy.”

Horrific Napalm Attack Or Moldy A/C Unit? (Image via Wikipedia)

Then it occurs to me that, perhaps, Marlene has never farted. Apparently, there are people who simply have never experienced anal acoustics. Considering that Josh is the most passive-aggressive, hang-dog man I’ve ever met on this planet, I doubt he’s ever served Marlene up with a Dutch Oven while in a playful mood. If he had, she’d have ripped his eyes out with her sharpened, two-toned, acrylic nails, then shrieked, “How dare you? I’m not some common trollop who’s interested in your sexually deviant behavior! What are you gonna do next? Pee on me?” But there is a real beauty to her ignorance.

“Well, something is definitely wrong. I don’t know, Josh. First, the wiring. Now the A/C. Maybe this is a sign. A sign from God.” Yeah, I sign that I shouldn’t eat Cool Ranch Doritos and bean dip before bed. Hands on her hips, Marlene shakes her head as though she just can’t decide what to do. Josh, on the other hand, knows exactly what he wants to do. Run.

Pushing past Marlene in perhaps the boldest move he’s ever made, Josh elbows me out of the way, jerks the door open and dashes into the open air, breathing deeply. You’d have thought he just finished the Boston Marathon by the way he’s leaning over – hands clenching the skin just above his bent knees – and sucking in oxygen like we’re scheduled to run out of it by tomorrow afternoon (actually, we’ve got at least another week).

Marlene doesn’t budge an inch. “Josh!” she calls after him, a note of irritation creeping into her voice. “I was talking to you. Do you think it’s a sign? Do you think we should back out of the deal? There’s somethin’ funky with the A/C, I’m telling you. It didn’t smell like this when we first walked in. Am I right?” Josh merely waves a hand in her direction – a signal that could mean anything, but I suspect it means, Fuck off, Marlene!

Can An A/C Unit Really Smell THAT Bad? (Image via

I have to do something quick. I can’t allow these people to lose their opportunity at second home ownership because I blew the butt bugle. “Umm, I just remembered that I turned the air on when we came in. It’s been off for awhile, so that’s probably why it smelled just a little. Happens all the time. Trust me, it’s no biggie.” I smile brightly, confidently. All the while, I’m jealous as hell of Josh – who’s outside, inhaling fresh air.

“Really?” she asks. “But you’ll still make sure the inspector checks it out?”

I nod.

“And he’ll bring in an expert if there’s anything wrong with it?”

“Yep.” And that expert is known as a gastroenterologist.

“Alright.” Seemingly satisfied, Marlene strolls out the front door and waits with Josh while I lock the place up.

On the elevator ride down, Marlene turns to me and, making a strange twitch with skin above her right eye, says, “I still think it smelled like mold.” That’s when I realize what seemed odd about her face earlier. Her eyebrows are gone. Completely singed off. Makes her look like Eugenia, my neighbor, before she draws hers on in the morning with a brown pencil. “Am I right, Josh?” she asks.

The Mona Lisa - Were Her Missing Eyebrows A Fashion Statement Or Exposure To Air Biscuits? (Image via Wikipedia)

Her husband leans back against the wall of the elevator, arms folded against his chest. His eyes travel the length of her face, taking in the absentee eyebrows. Calmly, he says, “No, you’re not, Marlene. You’re not right.” Then he closes his eyes, inhales the clean air deeply and smiles to himself.

40 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Kids

The Lewis Bunch (Image via Cristy Lewis)

When I met my husband over eight years ago, we each had two cats – mine were female and his were male. We fell in love and, upon combining our households, became the feline version of the Brady Bunch – except I had slightly better hair than Carol Brady and our backyard wasn’t covered in astro turf. Like the Brady’s, our kitties bunked together, fought frequently over who got to use the clubhouse, and shared a single bathroom.

When we married five years later, we decided against breeding (kids, not cats) after weighing the pros and cons of Kids vs. Kitties. The Kitties won and here’s why:

1) Fur hides bruises better than makeup. (No, I don’t beat my cats. I find whisking makes them fluffier.)

2) Though socially unacceptable in the United States, it’s not illegal to kill and eat your felines if facing starvation. Do that with your kid and your nickname in prison will be Donner Daddy.

3) Annual cost to raise a child: Approximately $13,000. Annual cost to raise a cat: Approximately $700. You do the math. For the amount it takes to raise a kid, you could adopt well over a dozen kitties and gain yourself an official title: Ailurophilia. That’s Greek for “cat lover.” Of course, there’s the unofficial title that the neighbors will  call you: Crazy Cat Lady. And if you go overboard, you’ll end up in a shit-filled hovel that serves as a giant litter box for your zillions of kitties and the star of the next episode of Hoarders. So stick with just a couple of felines and buy yourself a nifty sports car instead.

4) Annual day care expenses for infants and young children can range from $4000 to $10,000 per year. Cats, on the other hand, are self-sufficient. Their day care looks something like this:

For $29.95, I’m Entertained All Day Long (image via

5) If one of your cats mysteriously disappears, people will say this, “Awwww, so sorry Fluffy ran away. You must be so sad.”  Not this: “M’am at the time of Fluffy’s disappearance, do you have an alibi for your whereabouts?” Or this: “Neighbors reported hearing you shout, ‘Bad kitty!’ several times the night before Fluffy disappeared. Were the two of you having relationship problems?”

6) When your cat is whiny and uncontrollable in the car, you can lock it up in a cage. Apparently, this practice is frowned upon in at least 47 states when children are involved. No matter what Boost Mobile says.

Erm. No, You Can’t Do This (Image via

7) Cats are unable to verbalize their complaints about what all the other felines in the neighborhood are allowed to eat, watch, play with, or how late they’re permitted to stay out. Though they may attempt to do so by crying, “Meeeooow, meeeeowww, mow, mow,” all we hear is “Meeeoow, meeeeowww, mow, mow.” Sorry, don’t understand a single word. Not one.

8) Kids beg for expensive sneakers, video games, designer purses and cars. Cats beg for that little piece of gristle that you spit out onto your plate.

9) Pot is illegal. Catnip is not. Likewise, it is illegal to get your kid high in order to give them an “attitude adjustment.” Not so with felines. Adjust away.

What? It’s For Medicinal Usage Only, Man! (Image via

10) If your teenage cat gets knocked up, you can just give the kittens away. No paperwork. No red tape. No DNA testing to determine which of her boyfriends is the father. No arguments from your cat that she’s a grown up and that she and the baby daddy are gonna raise little Moonbeam on their own – right after they score a little catnip.

11) Euthanasia. Is. Legal. For. Cats. Note to cats: Don’t be expensive. No cat is THAT cute.

12) If you pet your kid for a half hour straight, you’re a pedophile. If you pet your cat for a half hour straight, you’re just a person covered in cat hair who clearly loves and adores their kitty.

13) With children, there’s no way to really use and enjoy all the skin and hair they shed on a daily basis. Ed Begley, Jr. would call that a waste of natural resources. A cat’s fur, on the other hand can be culled, woven into yarn, then knitted into a lovely sweater that leaves a nearly invisible carbon footprint paw print. Moreover, it only takes about 24 cat skins to make a coat, which means that Mr. Buttons can live forever…on your back.

Smokey The Sweater – You Should See His Mittens! (Image via

14) Cats rarely cry, but when they do, it is for very specific reasons. They are either hungry, thirsty, in pain, locked in a closet or desiring attention. Unlike babies, however, once said need is met, they stop crying. They. Stop. Crying. This is HUGE.

15) Cats don’t attend college or  technical school, nor do they take dance classes, gymnastics, or piano lessons. Cha-Ching! Likewise, they don’t play team sports. This means no after school car pools for you, nor will you be forced to spend your weekends watching little Jimmy miss the hoop again. And again. And again.

16) If you’re an ounce overweight, your teenager will be the first to let you know. “No, you can’t borrow my scarf. You’ll totally stretch it out.” The bigger your lap and belly, the happier your cat.

17) Unlike children, cats don’t hog the television. You will never have to listen to a purple dinosaur sing songs about loving everyone, nor will you learn what an Elmo is, why it talks so much and why you have to wait in a line outside of Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving to acquire one for your child. No Hannah Montana. No iCarly. No Suite Life on Deck. Family television is for suckas! Let’s watch Showtime!

Hannah Montana – Cat Lovers NEVER Have To Watch You! (Image via

18) Cats don’t watch porn, so keep yours lying around if you like. Your friends probably already know that you’re a perv.

19) Cats won’t steal your Vicodin and Valium, but make sure you don’t leave the lunch meat out on the counter. Honey-cured ham is like crack for kitties.

Kitty Crack – Don’t Let Your Cat Become A Statistic (Image via

20) Because cats don’t attend school, you don’t have to help them with their homework. Of course, this means that you will forever be dumber than a fifth grader since you won’t be relearning all that stuff you studied in grammar school.

21) Can’t cook? That’s okay. Friskies has done all the work for you. You can open a can, right?

22) Kids have been known to steal money from their parents. It’s called an allowance. This is a foreign concept in the cat world. Kitties don’t wear pants and, therefore, they don’t have pockets. Thus, there is nowhere for them to hide money or carry it to a mall to make a purchase. A cat’s only currency consists of bouncy balls, mousies, toys involving a stick, a string and a collection of feathers, and a small stash of catnip. It is acceptable (meaning: preferred) for a cat be naked throughout the day. It is illegal for your child to run around in the buff once he or she is in grade school, so don’t try to avoid the whole allowance thing by refusing to buy your kid pants.

My Cat, Dinsworth. No Pants, No Pockets, No Service (Image via Cristy Lewis)

23) Kids start out as babies and, during this time, expect to be fed every few hours – regardless of the time, the fact that The Walking Dead season finale is on, or that you’re just sick to death of letting them suck on your sore, shriveled tit. Cats are fed once or twice a day. You set the schedule. Your breasts should NEVER be involved.

24) Sick of hosting ALL the parties at your place? Feel like it’s time for someone else to shoulder the burden? Guess what? Up to 25% of people are ALLERGIC to cats. The next time you’re asked to host Superbowl Sunday, your response can be, “Wow! We’d love to, but we recently adopted Whiskers and Puffball – and I just heard that George and Larry are allergic to cats. Man, who knew?” Apparently, there are no known allergies to children; though kids are often irritating to adults, it’s apparently not sufficient enough to cause a rash, sneezing or watery eyes.

Children Don’t Cause Allergy Attacks, Just Panic Attacks (Image via

25) To date, no cat has ever murdered its entire family in a hate-fueled rage. I’m not saying that they don’t think about it, but the lack of  opposable thumbs makes it impossible for them to wield a weapon. That said, if you die in your home and are not immediately discovered, a cat may dine on you instead of reporting your death to the proper authorities.

26) Unlike young children, cats bathe themselves. In fact, if you try to aide them in this activity – particularly using soap and water – they will become extremely agitated. In addition to being self-sufficient in this area, they are also exceptionally diligent – spending up to a third of their waking hours grooming themselves. Compare this to a child who spends approximately a third of a minute grooming himself.

It’ll Take A Third Of His Life To Get This Kid Clean (Image via
Got Shovel? Cat Burial Is Free! (Image via

27) Average cost for a funeral for a human: Approximately $7500. Average cost to bury a cat: Free. Unless you don’t own a shovel, in which case, the cost goes up to about $25.

28)  Your teenager practically never wants to curl up in your lap, rub his face against your calf or nuzzle your cheek. If he does, he’s probably retarded. Sorry.

29) Purring has been known to induce sleep in insomniacs. Your teen’s favorite music vibrating through your bedroom wall has not.

30) The jury is out on whether or not having children increases your lifespan, but studies have proven that owning a cat can ensure that you spend another two or more years on this planet. Granted, they’ll probably be the most unpleasant of your life since you’ll be an old codger who’s sick, wrinkled and craps your pants – plus, your friends with cat allergies won’t visit you –  but you’ll be here!

31)  A cat will never beg you to buy it a puppy.

Would You Like Your Puppy Shredded Or Diced? (Image via

32) Cats won’t drink your vodka while you’re away and then fill the bottle up with water to hide their deception.

33) It’s often difficult to convince a child to go anywhere near a bug or lizard. Cats don’t have this fear. Not only will a cat capture any small creature that wanders into its territory, it will also toy with it, kill it and then leave it in a convenient place for you to find for disposal purposes. Granted, that convenient place might be your pillow, but at least you won’t be surprised by a cockroach running across your toes in the middle of the night.

34) Unlike kids – especially teenagers – cats don’t like clothes. Period. Or costumes. Or reindeer antlers. Or fancy, frilled collars made of colorful fabrics and bells. This will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. Unless you’re one of those cat owners. You know, the kind who insists that cats enjoy wearing silly outfits. The kind who thinks that cats want to walk on leashes. The kind who thinks your cat can read your mind. The kind who is hoarding canned food and weapons because he thinks the world is going to end on December 21rst.

Does This Cat Look Happy? Don’t Be One Of THOSE Cat Owners! (Image via

35) You don’t have to carry a kitten around in your belly for nine months. Plus, if you wait until the kitten is weaned, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is teach it to use a litter box. No breast pumps. No nipple pads. No sagging. No pregnancy weight gain. No stretch marks. No morning sickness. No maternity clothes. No labor. No telling your husband, “I fucking hate your guts for doing this to me. There’s a goddamned alien inside of me that is ripping my vagina completely apart. I’m never letting you touch me ever again!”

36) If your cat overhears you and your partner having sex, it won’t scar them for life. Nor will they tell all their friends at school, your neighbors and your in-laws that Mommy likes to call Daddy her “Throbbing Horndog Stallion.”

Cats Can’t Do This – Drunken Teens Can (Image via

37) You can leave your cats alone for the weekend without worrying that your lawnmower will be resting at the bottom of your pool when you return.

38) You can’t castrate your randy teenage boy – as much as you’d like to. This practice, however, is encouraged among cat owners. Here, kitty. Snip. Snip.

39) If your teenager is pissed at you, the retail therapy involved to keep her from moping, whining and complaining for the next week could be expensive. If Tabby is ticked off at you, you need merely to open a 99 cent can of tuna fish and the purring will commence.

40) There are two things every parent dreads: (1) having The Talk with their kid, and (2) teaching their kid how to drive the family car.  These are moot issues for cat owners. First, there is no Talk. Sex is instinctive for cats. Breeding cats is easier than Ashton Kutcher garnering Twitter followers. Also easy: ensuring that your cats don’t breed. And no, condoms are not involved. Second, cats are too short to drive. Unlike teenagers who have stupid laws on their side that permit them to drive if they reach a certain age and pass a test, the smartest cat in the world is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle. And with good reason. What? You’ve never seen Toonces the Driving Cat?

Toonces The Driving Cat – It Doesn’t Turn Out Well For Steve and Victoria (Image via

So there you go. Before you jump into the world of breeding miniature humans, consider adopting a couple of kitties. C’mon. Do you really want to give up your freedom for the next 20 – 30 years? Don’t you enjoy going on vacation to a place uninhabited by cartoon characters? Giving up the booze and the smokes for a whole nine months is a LONG time. Still, I sense you’re not quite sure. Here…let me help.

This Could Be Your Baby – Are You Willing To Chance It? (Image via

This post is dedicated to Mariah Carrington Lewis. We love you, miss you and think of you every day.

Open Letter To Florida’s Snowbirds

The Northeastern Snowbird's Migratory Pattern Brings It South For Winter (Image via

Dear Old CootsSnowbirds,

As a full-time resident of the Sunshine State, I am heavily-medicated due to tolerate your presence for four to five months out of each and every year. During your visits to my hometown, I strive to be patient and even welcoming. After all, you bring with you a collection of used, wadded up tissues (can’t ever have enough of those), the endless fragrance of Bengay and cold, hard cash. Tourism drives our local economy and, because of your winter forays to our tropical oasis, there are theaters that can afford to stay open year round, some of the best medical care doctors can overcharge for, and a terrific selection of colorful canes and walkers in every pharmacy, hair salon, liquor store, veterinarian’s office, McDonald’s, strip club – hell, they’re everywhere. However, we need to set a few ground rules. If you would follow these orders written in the blood of octogenarian roadkill suggestions, not only would it be greatly appreciated, but it will increase the likelihood that I won’t run you over with my Camry as you take forty-seven minutes to cross the fucking street. Thanks!

This Sign Doesn't Exist in Florida Because We Only Love Our Children And Our Wild Animals (Image via


Both Lanes Are Available - Pick One! (Image via

1)  Your car may not occupy more than one lane at a time unless you are in the process of changing lanes – and then, only for a second. Florida roads are not like the bank, where you can stand between two teller lines and refuse to commit to either one, preferring to hover in the middle until it is apparent that one line is moving much faster than the other. Here, you must select a lane and, preferably, stick with it until you reach your destination. If you refuse to choose a lane, I will pick one for you. Beware, if I have to select one on your behalf, you may experience a painful sensation in your neck, commonly referred to as whiplash. Opening your car door when you choose to exit your vehicle may also be extremely difficult or impossible.

2)  When determining the speed at which to operate your motor vehicle, consider the speed limit an order, not a recommendation. When you drive twenty miles below the speed limit, I have the urge to ride your bumper like it’s George Clooney’s naked body – and not in a good way. Being stuck in traffic behind one of you old codgers  is worse than watching Cowboys and Aliens – on an endless loop. I imagine that the road to Hell is packed with sinners driving uncomfortable Ford Fiestas – all of which have no air-conditioning and a radio that blares nothing but Judy Collins singing “Send In The Clowns”- and honking their horns at the guy in the lead: one old fart crawling along at 2.7 m.p.h., waving his fist out the window of his 1988 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, hollering, “Keep your shirt on. Why are youngsters always in such a rush?”

"I Can't Drive 55" - Yes, You Fucking Can! (Image via

3)  No one uses checks at the grocery store in Florida. If I see you pull out your checkbook, expect to have a zucchini inserted into an orifice that only your proctologist and freaky sex partner from half a century ago have ever seen up close.

4)  Your Depends cannot be flushed down the toilet in public places. Likewise, please don’t ball them up and leave them in the corner of the bathroom stall, in a fitting room or under your seat at the movie theater. And despite the fact that they are made of plastic and paper, they aren’t recyclable, so pulling your used ones apart and depositing each half in the blue and red plastic recycling bins is punishable by life in prison without possibility of parole or lozenges discouraged.

Where To Dispose Of These Doesn't "Depend" On Anything. Garbage Only, Please. (Image via

5)  Much like with a dangerous amusement park ride, there is a height requirement for driving in the State of Florida. If you can’t see over the wheel, take the bus. The fact that your blue hair can be viewed above the wheel by other drivers is insufficient. I must be able to see your eyeballs. More importantly, you must be able to see me, my bumper, your rear view mirror, me, your side mirror, your blind spot, me, traffic signs, pedestrians, me, traffic lights and the occasional indecisive squirrel. And me.

Don't Drive Unless I Can See The Whites Of Your Eyes (Imagevia

6)  As you age, some things get better. Women stop menstruating and don’t need to shave anything but their faces. Men lose their hair and rarely have to deal with random boners. However, your farts don’t stink any less. Nor are they cute. No one giggles and says, “How adorable! Did you get a whiff of that old codger’s ass vapors? Makes me want to nuzzle his belly and give him a zerbert.” So don’t pass wind in public. You didn’t do it when you were forty and doubling your age doesn’t automatically entitle you to a “free gas pass.”

Lawrence Welk - Did You Just Say "Polka" Or Was It The Voices In My Head? (Image via Wikipedia)

7)  Just because your hearing isn’t as great as it used to be doesn’t mean mine isn’t absolutely perfect. Therefore, when you choose to watch television without your hearing aids inserted and/or turned on, you may be forcing others, namely ME, to listen to reruns of Lawrence Welk whether they (again, ME) like it or not. Personally, this can be irritating when I’m trying to watch – say, True Blood. Polka and vampires go together like Rick Perry and the number 3. Furthermore, if you find that you are constantly punching the upward facing volume arrow on your remote and, yet, the sound emanating from the television is not increasing, it’s because you’ve hit the volume limit. Which means your television is TOO FRIGGIN’ LOUD. So before you gingerly sit down in your Barcalounger with your glass of prune juice, all ready for a hot date with Andy Griffith and Angela Landsbury, do this for me. Charge your hearing aid batteries, insert said batteries into said hearing aids, position said hearing aids in your ears and turn them on. Then, once you’re all settled and comfortable, turn the volume on your hearing aids way, way up and the volume on your television way, way down. FYI, repeated exposure to the music of Lawrence Welk is the leading cause of psychotic episodes for people between the ages of 20 and 50. Don’t become a statistic.

8) Halitosis. Not sure what it means? Look it up and buy some mints. Not a small box of orange Tic Tacs, either. Purchase the jumbo megatron-sized crate of Altoids. Carry them with you at all times and – most importantly – use them. I don’t care how many times you soak your dentures every day, your mouth still smells like my grandparent’s bathroom – on the day the sewer backed up. No amount of Aqua Velva covers the odor of sulfur combined with day old Salisbury steak. My cat wouldn’t sniff your breath. Moreover, in the same way that your walker entitles you to additional personal space, your bad breath entitles me to more of the same when in your presence. Please stand at least a foot away when you speak to me. You never, ever have the right to lean in close and whisper to me for any reason. Even at a funeral. Unless you want it to be yours.

This Makes Your Breath Smell Worse Than Cat Ass (Image via Wikipedia)

9)  During Old Coot Snowbird Season, the traffic in Florida can get preeeettttty bad. For those of us with jobs, schedules and limited free time, it would be greatly appreciated if you would refrain from traveling on the roads between the hours of 7 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. I know what you’re going to say: But my Early Bird Special is between 4 and 5 p.m. Too damn bad! My husband’s right to get home within a reasonable time after leaving work is not superseded by your desire to save two lousy bucks on Surf ‘n Turf. And while we’re on that note, why do you insist on grabbing up all the early morning doctor appointments in town? You’re retired. You have absolutely nothing to do all day. Before you open your mouth, mahjong and bridge don’t qualify as things. I realize that 8 a.m. is mid-day to you, but people with J-O-B-S need those slots. So no appointments – anywhere – between the aforementioned hours. You’re not supposed to be on the damn roads anyway!

Pharmacy - No One Who Works Here Looks Like Your Relative Or Cares About Your Bone Spurs (Image via

10)  Don’t assume that people need or want to know anything about you, your former career, your military background, your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren or “the good ol days.” If we are curious about such things, we will inquire. So how do you apply this information to your visit to Florida? Let’s say you need to drop off a prescription. Don’t give me that look. You geezers take more drugs than Charlie Sheen. So, you’re at Walgreens (Not “the Walgreens” – it’s just called Walgreens. No need to insert an article in front of the name of any store.). When the clerk asks if she can help you, the appropriate response is: Yes, thank you. Here’s my prescription. What time should I return to pick it up?” She will give you a time. You can thank her again as politeness is always appreciated, but nothing more need be said.

Seriously. Don’t utter another word. Especially this: Thank you. What’s your name, dearie? I can’t quite make out your name tag. I don’t know why they make ’em so small. How am I supposed to call you by your name? Isn’t that the point of a name tag? Hold on a sec. Just let me get out my readers. (Two minutes elapse as you rummage through your purse, locate your glasses, wipe them with one of those moldy tissues from the bottom of your bag and perch them on your nose.) Oh, my. You look just like my granddaughter, Mindy. And whaddya know – your name is Cindy. How funny is that? What are the odds? Harold, come over here! Doesn’t she look just like Cindy? And her name is Mindy. Their names rhyme. Oh, Cindy, I gotta show you a picture of her. No, okay. What time did you say my prescription would be ready again? You know, I never used to have to take blood pressure medication, but ever since I developed hemorrhoids, my doctor said I should take ’em. I guess he’s worried that I could strain while on the toilet and have a heart attack. But I take an aspirin everyday. You know, one of the baby ones…” Have you caught on yet? If you do this, particularly when there is a line of people waiting behind you, it could be dangerous. Codgers have been bludgeoned to death with their own walkers for much more minor infractions.

Walking Aid Or Murder Weapon? You Choose. (Image via Wikipedia)

Now was that so bad? You probably thought I was going to be unreasonable. But I’m sure you can agree that these are simple orders that must be followed under penalty of death by firing squad requests. Following them will ensure that we all continue to co-exist in the Sunshine State peacefully. On a side note, Snowbird Season officially ends on Mother’s Day. Please make your travel arrangements to leave the state now. Right now. I’m not kidding. I’m holding a butter knife, you know. And I’m irritated. Are you dialing US Airways right this second? Good. Hurry. My neighbor’s been watching Lawrence Welk for the last three hours straight and I’m not feeling so good.


The Taller Than Average Woman and Pretty Much Everyone Under the Age of Seventy in the State of Florida

Nice People: Driving Mankind To Extinction

Hippies! We Were Nice First!

We’re all taught to be nice to others. To treat people as we would like to be treated. Bumper stickers proclaim “Mean People Suck” and “Mean People Are Mean.” And while not terribly eloquent and apparently created by four year olds, their message is dead-on accurate. Mean people suck. But without them, humanity will wither and, eventually, die.

Though some would disagree, many believe that people are becoming more pleasant. Particularly here, in the United States. The manner in which we debate politically evidences this fact. Our politicians actually sing, they’re so happy with one another. They call each other by cute nicknames like “Mitt” and “Newt” and “That Black Interloper in the White House.” One group of conservatives who seems particularly desperate to reach out to others calls themselves “The Tea Party.” Clearly, it’s an invitation. Come on over. We’ll talk tax cuts and why it’s nobody’s fault but your own if you don’t have health insurance, and drink a cup of chamomile (No English Breakfast Tea – they’re bloody Socialists, dontcha know?). I bet they’d serve cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off if you requested it.

Tea Party Members - Why Do People Call Them Crazy? (Image via

This level of friendliness has also impacted the manner in which our country deals with other nations. When U.S. troops visit other countries – without their permission –  and in large numbers, this is no longer considered an invasion or war, but an “Operation” – i.e. Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Desert Storm. We no longer kill our enemies, we neutralize assets using smart bombs and surgical strikes. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I’m not sure if we’re running a war or a MASH unit or fixing kid’s cleft palates. The whole thing sounds so civil and professional and medical. Even when we lose one of our own, it’s often to “friendly fire.” Did the deceased soldier feel that the bullets or bombs that took his or her life were particularly amiable? He or she must have because, otherwise, a term like friendly fire would almost be insulting to the families those heroes left behind. And nice people don’t insult widows and orphaned children. It’s inherently NOT nice.

Overall, this may be one of the nicest decades in history. According to Steven Pinker, Harvard psychology professor and author of The Better Angels of our Nature, “Today we may be living in the most peaceable era of our species’ existence.” What? We’re less violent today, you say? That’s just crazy talk! We’ve got non-stop wars going on. We’re armed to the gills. Our ghettos are infested with gangs. Schools employ the use of metal detectors. Someone threw glitter at Newt Gingrich. Paula Abdul was canned as an X-Factor judge. Kim Kardashian has to travel with multiple body guards. Paris Hilton’s house is continuously burgled. Jimmy Fallon’s band insinuated that Michele Bachmann is a “lyin’ ass bitch.” It’s a cruel, mean world.

Newt Gingrich - Politician or Glitter Princess Fairy? (Image via

Au contraire, says The New York Times journalist, Nicholas D. Kristof, who recently examined the warm-and-fuzzy worldwide trend in his article, “Are We Getting Nicer?” Actually, he didn’t really say, “Au contraire.” But he would – if he was here sitting next to me right now as I write this blog. Which he isn’t. He’d also say, “You know, it’s really late. Mind if I take a little nap?”  What he did say is that in the 20th century, a time “notorious for world war and genocide,” only about 3% of all deaths involved “such man-made catastrophes.” By comparison, in Native American, hunter-gatherer societies, 13% died as the result of violence, and the 17th century’s “Thirty Years’ War reduced Germany’s population by as much as one-third.” Now either Kristof, like Bobby Fischer and David Duke, doesn’t believe the Holocaust occurred and is leaving out a whole lot of dead people in his calculations – or humans used to be much, much, much more violent. We were bad asses. A few centuries ago, “Oh, no she diddddn’t” was inevitably followed by the previously-referenced “she” person’s head being paraded around the town on a stick. Three hundred years ago, the Grimm brothers wrote fairy tales – for little children – involving cannibalism, the severing of various limbs, a talking dead horse head, kidnapping, murder, imprisonment in tall towers, and talking drops of blood. S&M wasn’t a sexual fetish; it was a religious conversion technique.

Not A Groovy New York City Fetish Party. Nope, Just A Demand For Confession And Conversion (Image via wikipedia)

Further supporting the theory that society is becoming a kinder, gentler place is The U.S. Department of Justice’s 2010 report, Crime In the United States, which indicates a steady decline in violent crime over the last five years. Between 2009 and 2010 alone, there was a 6% decrease. And since 2006, the incidence of violent crime has dipped over 13%. If this is true, then surely – at this rate – we’ll all be dancing naked and banging drums around bonfires singing Kumbaya in another twenty years, and living in an Egalitarian society in which all food and goods are gifted to one another on the basis of need.

Kumbaya My Lord. Kumbaya. (Image via

However, if you’re like me, you don’t trust the numbers. Former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, may have put it best when he said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Numbers can be manipulated and our country’s leaders are quick to point that out. For example, Rick Perry emphatically stated in his book, Fed Up!, that global warming and the science supporting it is “one contrived phony mess.” Likewise, fast-food expert Herman Cain recently weighed in on the same issue, calling the whole thing “a scam.” Granted, neither of them possess an actual background in climatology, but they’re wealthy men with good jobs – and they recognize manipulation when they see it. One of them has years of experience running a corporation in which lobbying, greed and corruption are not uncommon, so he’s familiar with collusion; the other is an expert in numbers manipulation himself, most recently with his 9-9-9 Plan (though I personally think he stole it from a Beatles’ song). Just as these political giants dismiss global warming, I’m certain they’d disagree with all these crazy statistics that claim our world is gradually becoming a nicer place.

Make Sure You Get The Sweat Stains Under My Flipper Pits (Image via

Perhaps some anecdotal evidence would be more convincing. Halloween is a perfect example. Unlike the Seventies when children were encouraged to go strangers’ doors dressed in strange costumes and rudely scream, “Trick or Treat!” into homeowners’ faces on an annual basis, parents now shepherd their rugrats to the mall, where they now shout “Trick or Treat” into the faces of mall employees. Wait! Isn’t this evidence of the fact that parents are worried about their children’s safety because the world is NOT a nicer place? No. No. Not at all. This is merely indicative of the fact that parents have recognized the burden that Halloween places on the average person. How rude is it to allow your kids to bang on some old lady’s door thirty or forty times in one night and threaten her with a “trick” if she doesn’t give scary looking children (who, in her mind, might be demonic dwarves) candy that she really can’t afford on her fixed income? Especially when she’s trying to watch Hot In Cleveland. You can’t miss a second of that show ’cause Betty “Don’t Buy Me Green Bananas” White could go at an any minute

Betty White - Odds Are 7 to 1 She Goes Today! (Image via Wikipedia)

By taking children to the mall instead, parents are attempting to mitigate the impact of Halloween’s expense and inconvenience on others. Unlike the elderly woman I mentioned, mall employees aren’t watching television, so the children aren’t interrupting them doing something important. And they’re paid to be yelled at. In fact, they’re hollered at regularly (though less than before, because we are getting friendlier) and they don’t have to bear the expense of the candy distributed to the ankle-biters to get them to run along and harass someone else. This cost is absorbed by Corporate America and I don’t care what anyone says, they aren’t people and I don’t have to be nicer to them.

Not Here To Save The World - Just Here For The Candy And To Annoy The Mall Cops (Image via

Assuming the statistics and anecdotal evidence supporting the Amiable Argument, as I like to call it, are correct, how is this a bad thing? Won’t we, as a society, be happier? Isn’t this what we’ve been aspiring to as humans – evolving over the years into more civilized creatures capable of empathy and love? It looks as though we’re almost there. We’re right on the cusp of Utopia, ready to fall off the precipice into the gorge of universal peace.

Peace Out! (Image via

Yeah, okay. Lemme know when you’re done huggin’ that tree and are willing to put the patchouli incense away. Please. It stinks. Oh, and that crystal you’ve been rubbing under your armpits – not working. It’s like being downwind of a pair of Larry King’s Depends first thing in the morning before his babysitter wife has changed him. Oh, and you – radical conservatives who doubt anything that God didn’t handwrite Himself in your translated-a-billion-times-over King James version of the Bible, I’ve got a question for you. If God created everything, then He created the metaphor, right? Why would the universe’s greatest super hero invent a linguistic tool, inspire one of the best-selling books of all time and not use a single metaphor anywhere in that very, very long book? C’mon – can’t we agree that maybe everything shouldn’t be taken literally? Maybe Christ wasn’t really a vine. Or a door. And maybe seven days is more like seven million years.

So back to why nice people will be the death of us all. Darwin. Natural selection. Oh, let me guess. That’s more poppycock, right? Darwin’s theories are up there with global warming and the Holocaust and the moon landing. Crazy talk! Fine, but the dinosaurs probably dismissed him as well and it didn’t turn out so well for most of them now, did it? No, I’m not saying that being amiable will be the catalyst for the natural disaster that will spawn another Ice Age – for which we are sorely unprepared.

What I’m saying is that when everything’s good, when everything’s easy-peasy, is when our DNA becomes complacent. Instead of developing opposable big toes like Beast in X-Men: First Class or the ability to communicate with one another almost entirely through pheromones like ants, we’re doing nothing. We’re letting our technology do our thinking for us, sitting in front of our computers all day while our muscle tone slowly dwindles, and our girths expand until width is the term used to describe one’s size, not height. I’m no wack-a-doo soothsayer, either. Pixar foretold this future a few years back in WALL-E.

No Way This Could Happen To Our Society, Huh? (Image via

Think I’m crazy? Visit any Wal-Mart or grocery store and see how many of those scooters are now available for shoppers. Twenty years ago, they didn’t exist. They were called wheelchairs – and you brought your own with you. Because you were crippled – not fat and lazy.  One upon a time, heavy-set people just waddled up and down the aisles like the rest of us. For us, it was shopping; for them, it was an aerobic workout, but it was better than sitting on your  ass because you might get a tad out of breath. Now you have to be careful where you walk at a theme park because you’ll get run down by someone who can’t be bothered to get off their butt (or just wants to get to the next ride faster – those friggin’ scooters have some serious horsepower). And this is bad for us as a species. When apex predators get fat and lazy, they get eaten by new apex predators.

Still So Sure This Couldn't Be You One Day? (Image via

Without mean people, the human race will lose it’s only predator. As apex predators, we are remarkably similar to sharks and crocodiles, neither of which has changed much since the K/T Extinction Event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Still, a long time ago, both were quite a bit larger, but after being the big guys on campus for so long, they inevitably began to take it easy, evolutionarily speaking. Imagine an crocodile thinking to himself millions of years ago, “Wildebeest aren’t getting any bigger. I couldn’t probably lose a few inches of tail, spend a little less time at the gym and a work on my tan more often and still get plenty to eat. Same with sharks.  For 14 million years, the 50-foot long Megalodon was, literally, the big motherfuckin’ fish in the big motherfuckin’ pond. Though some dispute that the Great White Shark is a descendant of the Megalodon and the reason for this monster’s extinction has never been determined, it’s possible that Mega Mouth just got tired of chewing (My husband often claims that it’s the most boring of activities) and filling its enormous belly. Maybe he thought, “If I dropped a good 35 tons, I could still rule this roost no problem and I wouldn’t have to feed all the darn time. I could take up Scrabble or write that novel I keep talking about.” And The Great White Shark was born.

We're The Equivalent Of The Megalodon. But It's Extinct And We Will Be Soon If We're Not Careful. (Image via Wikipedia)

Regardless, these apex-predators of the oceans and rivers are in trouble. The Great White is now more endangered than tigers. In the United States, alligators were endangered for years and are now a protected species. Numerous species of crocodiles across the world are currently endangered. Why? Ultimately, because we are the Uber Villain in the comic strip called, “Earth.” We hunt them, we steal and pollute their habitat, we make awful films about gimongous versions of them. Except, as we get lazier, spawn fewer evolved children and destroy our DNA with crystal meth, the chimps out there are eating well, throwing poo (a sign of intelligence and one step away from learning to use an uzi) and are fashioning and using weapons. Whaaaaaat? Weapons? Yep. Santino, a chimp in the Furuvik Zoo in Sweden, began creating disks out of concrete and collecting stones – even after hours – to throw at annoying tourists while the zoo was open. Scared yet?

Poop Today. Ninja Throwing Stars Tomorrow.

So keep it up, Nice People. If you do, Planet of the Apes could be your future. Mean People keep you on your toes. They pick on you so that you’re too embarrassed to ride around on that scooter, hogging the damn cereal aisle. They mind-fuck you at work to keep your synapses firing, and cut you off in traffic to keep your eye-hand coordination intact. They beat you up in the playground to teach you how to defend yourself, mug you in the alley so you understand when to fight and when to flee, and steal your girlfriend so you learn to treat the next one like gold. Mean people make your books and films interesting. Conflict is what makes the world go round…not conservation of angular momentum. That’s just more science poppycock. Back me up on this one, Rick Perry.

Cake? You’ll Poke Your Eye Out, Kid!

Bake Pops - The Next Revolution

As with all As Seen On TV! products, I was blown away by the revolutionary new baking craze that is sweeping the nation. Bake Pops. Yes, I know. It’s mind-blowing. Cake on a stick. ON A STICK! Certainly, a nuclear physicist or Nobel winning scientist was behind this invention. What are Bake Pops, you ask? Seriously? You don’t know? Some of us clearly aren’t reading Wired, Newsweek, Time, Popular Science or Woman’s Day. Bake Pops are small round cakes with a stick inserted into them so that they can be dipped in frosting or chocolate and decorated to your liking.

No more eating cake off a plate. Talk about  a nuisance. If I had a dime for every time someone turned to me at a party and said, “Cristy, I’d rather have a root canal than eat this slice of carrot cake off a plate with a fork. What a hassle!” To begin with, you’ve got to have napkins, forks, and plates available – and in an economy like ours, that’s just not a given. I can’t tell you how often I’ve simply fallen to my knees and sobbed upon discovering that Wal-Mart was out of plastic forks…again. Have you any idea how embarrassing it is to ask your party guests to eat cake with their fingers? Their nails become sticky with frosting and then they need extra napkins. Like you’ve got plenty of those to go around. It’s not like paper just grows on trees. Suddenly, you’re a friggin’ napkin ATM machine.

As a civilized society, we’re expected to multi-task – particularly at parties. Despite the fact that everyone – our families, our employers, our friends, our Facebook friends, our LinkedIn contacts, our fellow bloggers, our Twitter followers, our co-workers, our former co-workers whom we avoid because they left under less-than-favorable circumstances, and people we pretend to like at Starbucks, but just so they don’t spit in our pumpkin lattes – expect us to be able to do more in less time, we still only have two hands and ten fingers (unless you’re a carpenter, in which case, make that eight or nine fingers).

We've All Got Our Hands Full, But It's Easier If You've Got Ten Fingers (Image via

If there’s one thing there’s never enough of at parties, it’s chairs and tables. This is assuming you attend good parties. Now if the guy at work who picks his nose and keeps his boogers on a piece of notebook paper in his top desk drawer invites you to a party at his mother’s house, there is a chance that they’ll be plenty of places to sit and tables upon which to rest your paper plate. However, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, so the odds are that you’ll be standing around trying to juggle your plate, fork, and napkin in one hand, with your cell phone tucked under one armpit and a glass of punch in the other. And maybe Larry from down the street, slipped a little something into that punch. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge. Which means you’ll be tipsy. Or sloshed.

If You're A Loser, They'll Be Plenty of Places To Rest Your Plate and Martini Glass (Image via

As you know, this is when things spin out of control. Melanie, that fabulous hair stylist you’ve been dying to get an appoint with, is there and is willing to work you into her schedule. Scraping your cake to one side of your plate with your fork, you set your cup of punch next to it. Then, withdrawing your cell from your armpit, you attempt, one-handed, to enter Melanie’s contact information. But you’ve had more than a few sips of Larry’s mysterious brew. Your balance is a little off. The hand holding the plate shakes from the added and poorly-distributed weight of the punch glass, and the pink liquid splashes onto the freshly-mopped, tile floor. Your phone rings in the middle of entering the appointment date and time into your calendar and, as you struggle to answer it without having to re-enter the information, you slip on the spilled punch and fall. Landing on your back, you watch in horror as the plate flies into the air, then plummets towards your head. When it’s all said and done, you’ve got a plastic fork in your eye and your hostess is pissed off because of all the napkins you’ve used to sop up the blood. But thanks to Bake Pops, that will never happen again.

Ouch! If You Don't Buy Bake Pops, This Could Happen To You! (Image via

Nor will Granny break her good hip in the inevitable frosting slip ‘n fall accident. Every year, thousands of elderly people slip on icing at their grandkids’ birthday parties. Most will die in the hospital of pneumonia – a common complication. Is serving a cake the size of a coffee table worth Papa Joe lying cold and dead in a grave? Is writing out “Happy Birthday, Amber” on a pink cake with a unicorn theme worth the loss of fourteen more years with Nana Gertrude? I don’t think so. Preserve a future for your children with their rambling, incoherent and crippled elders by purchasing Bake Pops. You can dip them (the Bake Pops, not their elders) in pink chocolate and sprinkle them with silver (inedible) snowflakes for little Amber next year. It’s almost like the real thing. Not quite. But then, how will your children ever experience feeding their grandparents by hand –  and wiping the baby food and spittle off their mouths – unless you convert to the new Bake Pops revolution? Would you deprive your parents of their second childhood? I think not.

Don't Let This Happen To Nana Gertrude (Image via

Of course, every hostess is worried about one of her guests choking to death because, in an attempt to emulate the Man vs. Food host, one loser will try to cram an entire slice of cake into his mouth at once. Nothing’s worse than having to explain to the paramedics, the medical examiner and the dead idiot’s wife that the deceased inadvertently killed himself because he thought he could top the portly Travel Channel television host. “Watch me while I cram this entire cake into my mouth within the next two minutes!” he’d cried triumphantly. For the last time. Don’t let this happen to you. Why spend unnecessary hours being questioned by detectives, comforting the dead moron’s widow, and paying a cleaning crew to clean up the urine and other fluids that tend to ooze out of a body upon death when you can simply buy Bake Pops? It’s impossible for a drunken guest to squeeze an entire slice of cake into his mouth at once because Bake Pops are bite-sized.

Does One Of Your Idiot Guests Think He's Adam Richman? Stop Him In His Tracks With Bake Pops! (Image via

In addition to preventing permanent disfigurement and death, this amazing new product will also help you avoid committing many of the dreaded, social faux-paux associated with cake serving and cake eating etiquette. For example, cutting the cake. Who does it? The birthday girl, the hostess, the guy with the Bowie knife in his sock? Do you begin cutting in the corner or, in the event that you’re serving the classic bikini cake, do you start with a nipple for the birthday boy?

Would The Birthday Boy Like A Slice Of Cleavage? (Image via

How do you determine cake slice size? For example, do you give a translucent slice to the fat girl? What do you do if the fat girl passes her skinny piece to Nicole Ritchie (What? She doesn’t come to all of your parties? That’s ’cause you haven’t been serving Bake Pops!) and asks for the chunky, corner slice you’ve just plated – the one with all the frosting and three blue rosettes? If you were serving Bake Pops, this would never be an issue. Bake Pops are all the same size. Unlike cake slices, Bake Pops can be exactly the same. Not different, but equal. Yes, equal. If you choose, your Bake Pops can all be the same color, with the same sprinkles and the same number of rosettes. Or, if you’re planning a tea party, the vanilla Pops can be richer and taxed at a lower rate than the chocolate Pops…but that’s totally up to you.

How Large A Slice Should The Fat Girl Get? (Image via

A generous company, Bake Pops isn’t only committed to preventing blindness, saving lives and promoting portion-controlled diets, it is sincerely committed to recycling. In light of this fact, here are some other great ways in which you can use Bake Pops’s patented “stick” to bring even more efficiency, safety and enjoyment into your life.

1) Egg Pops: Tired of chopping your hard-boiled eggs using one of those uber-complicated, one step, egg slicers? Why not insert the Bake Pop stick into your egg instead? Save yourself all that sweaty, difficult, single-step slicing and let your teeth do the work for you! That is what your chompers were designed for.

Can You Think Of An Easier Way To Eat An Egg? (Image via Cristy Lewis)

2) Potato Pops: Try grilling these babies along with some New York strip steaks at your next pool party. Dip them in sour cream and chives – and your guests will be talking about them over the water cooler on Monday. Watch out! They can be a little warm in the middle.

I'm Even Better With Bacon Bits- But What Isn't? (Image via Cristy Lewis)

3) Brussels Pops: Tell your kids that they’re cabbage-flavored lollipops – and serve them with plenty of butter. Kids love butter. And at their age, cholesterol really isn’t an issue, now is it?

A Whole Stick Of Butter Should Make The Taste Of Brussels Sprouts Disappear Completely! (Image via Cristy Lewis)

4) Onion Pops: Talk about the perfect pre-date appetizer for your teens. No one’s gonna get pregnant at this Homecoming Dance. And no cooking required! Looking for a twist? Try it with a bulb of fresh garlic. Your eyes will burst into flames just trying to read a Twilight novel.

Wanna Make Out Now? No? Why Not? (Image via

5) Poop Pops: For us dog lovers, we know nothing satiates our canine’s appetite more than another dog’s feces. Or, if your pooch is into the exotic, try using kitty poo – the litter tastes just like vanilla sprinkles to them! Don’t forget – nothing compliments an ass-kabob like a little au jus dipping sauce. Rover will lap it right up.

Poop Pops - Every Pup's Favorite Appetizer (Image via

6) Soylent Pops: Looking to keep your carbon footprint as small as possible? Why not dine on your like-minded, green counterparts who, instead of dedicating their bodies to science, dedicated them to sustenance? To keep the cycle-of-life turning – and as green as possible – consider nourishing another human with your flesh and celebrate in the knowledge that no paper or plastic products will be used in the serving of your dead, cooked corpse.

7) Salt Pops: Why should a cow enjoy the ease of a salt lick whenever it wants, when you’ve got to concern yourself with seasoning your food or salting the rim of your margarita glass? Why rip open teeny tiny containers of salt or struggle with the hardened white mass stuck inside the restaurant shaker when you can carry your own discreet salt pop everywhere you go? What – you want to do shots? No problem. Lick your Salt Pop, slam that tequila and then suck on a slice of lime. Easily shared, Salt Pops will make you the favorite drunk at the bar.

Salt Necklaces - Coming Soon

For more information on Bake Pops, tune in to your favorite television station late at night when advertising is cheap or check out the demo on You Tube: Bake Pops Demo. Your kid’s eye could depend on it.

Seven More Things? Really?

The Versatile Blogger Award!

This will be my shortest post ever. Except for Savannah Glasses – which I won’t even provide a link for because it’s just a photo and an excuse for not writing. Why so short? It’s very late. I’m extremely tired. I’m not funny when I’m sleepy. Actually, I am funny, but it’s because I snore and, according to my husband, it’s an entirely different kind of funny. More like You Tube funny. I hope he doesn’t read this post. Look, if you see a You Tube video out there entitled: “Hilarious Female Blogger Snoring Like a Water Buffalo” – don’t watch it. But flag it for inappropriate content. And send the poster a nasty, threatening email.

The relative briefness of this post will likely be a relief for many of you who have become accustomed to my marathon blogs – one of which, by the way, was read by a runner while competing in the Boston Marathon, but he couldn’t finish it in time – my post, not the marathon. But I don’t think he was a very fast reader. Just ’cause you have thighs of steel and can move them as rapidly as a hummingbird’s wings doesn’t mean there’s anything snapping and popping up there in your gray matter. What, you ask? Am I ever going to get to the point or will I pen 2000+ words on the shortest post I’m ever going write?


The ever-so-kind and most recent recipient of The Versatile Blogger Award, ksnapped – who also loves shiny and sparkly things – has nominated me for…The Versatile Blogger Award. I’m simply verklempt. In less than a month, the wonderful blogging staff and/or community has seen fit to Freshly Press me (which made me no thinner, but smoothed out some of my cellulite), and award me both the 7×7 Link Blogging Award and, now, The Versatile Blogger Award.

As with the 7×7, these awards are essentially the chain letters of the blogging award industry. Still, I never win anything. Even my husband dissuades me from buying lottery tickets because my luck is abysmal. So, secretly, I’m thrilled. On the outside, I’m jaded and sighing over the fact that I have to do this again so soon. Don’t you want to kill me right now? I would. What a total ass, huh? Go ahead. Seriously. Do it. If you do, I’m done with the post. Done. I’m free. Maybe I’ll be reincarnated as one of Ricky Gervais’ pets. No takers? Pussies. My offer is rescinded.


1) Add the Versatile Blogger Award to your post. Done

2) Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog. Done

3) Share 7 completely random pieces of information about myself. See Below

4) Include this set of rules in your post. Done

5) Nominate 10 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award in this post. See Belower  (I know it’s not a word, but it should be.)

6) Notify each of the nominees by posting a comment on each of their blogs. I’m going to cheat here and send them all an email if possible. Why? Because then I can send ONE email.


I must admit that part of me is reluctant to reveal another seven personal things about myself. After all, you know what a private person I am. I hate to talk about myself, my past, the terrible dresses my mother made me wear, my addictions, my dead dog, my hatred for people who can be witty at a moment’s notice, my dislike of sonnets, and my love of little people. So, of course, sharing this kind of information gives me the heebie-jeebies. But, as always, I am willing to suffer for my art.

1) I used to play the flute, but the only thing I ever learned to play well was the theme song to Mork and Mindy. This comes up often at parties. “C’mon, Cristy. Na Nu, Na Nu. Take me back to Ork,” but my time as a flautist is over. Stop asking, Robin. Williams. You can’t go back in time. Take the rainbow suspenders off, you hairy freak.

No, Mork. I Don't Have The Power To Send You Back. Go Back To Stand-Up, Man! (Image via Wikipedia)

2) If I wasn’t already happily married to my true love, I would marry Jimmy Stewart. Yes, I realize he’s dead, but that wouldn’t stop me. I’d dig up his corpse and use whatever scientific means possible to reanimate his lifeless body until we could consummate our relationship. Nothin’ wrong with zombie love.

3) The first poem I ever wrote was entitled, “Punk the Skunk.” Even as a young child, my future was paved with combat boots, ripped fishnets and black eyeliner. Sometimes, I wonder if my father is The Clash. Not any particular member. The whole band. (Sorry, Mom!)

The Clash - Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? (Image via Wikipedia)
My First Car. Really. Type Gullwing Mercedes As The Security Question Answer And See Where That Gets You (Image via Wikipedia)

4) I’m pretty sure these awards were started by identity thieves who troll our blogs for personal information so that they can answer security questions proffered by our banks and credit card companies. I’m gonna make it easier for them. My birthday is July 4, 1776. My mother’s maiden name is Doe. My best friend’s last name is Kardashian. (I think I just lost a little bit of my soul by writing that.) My husband and I met at a naked car wash. My first car was a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing and it sucked because I really wanted a new car. Oh, and my Social Security number is 111-11-1111. Really. Hello, look at my birth date! You know I had to be like the first person to get one…ever.

5) I voted for President Obama. I’m going to vote for him again. That’s not a joke. Remember, during the last election, when conservatives used to make fun of our President’s first name? “What the hell kinda name is Barack?” At least our President isn’t named after a lizard or something you use to remove a hot pan from the oven. Talk about throwing stones at glass houses.

Newt Gingrich - Didn't He Ruin Christmas Or Something? (Image via Wikipedia)

6) When I was a senior in high school, I told Judd Nelson he “f**king sucked” after he was rude to a friend of mine and made her cry. I’ve since forgiven him for the incident. I haven’t forgiven him for getting a crew cut or for the film, Lost Voyage. Floppy hair works for exactly two actors: Hugh Grant and Judd Nelson. If you have the floppy hair gift, it is a sin to mow your tresses as though they were grass. Judd, you’ve been warned. Don’t make me blog about you again. I’ll curse you out. You know I will. I’ve done it before.

Yes, Judd. I Will Train You Like A Dog, If Necessary, To Grow Your Hair Back Into This Amazing Floppy Do (image via

7) My first 45 record was “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. Yes, I picked it out all on my own. I was six or seven. A little white girl with soul. This makes me cooler than almost anyone. Not hip, but cool. If your first 45 was by Hall & Oates, don’t even respond to this post. I mean it. I’ll curse you out. I cussed out a movie star when I was seventeen. I have no fear.


1) Gemini Girl in a Random World –  Talented writer. Brilliant. Clever. Gorgeous. Recently Freshly Pressed. All words that describe me…and my blogging bestie, Stacie Chadwick. Okay, maybe some of them describe just Stacie – and not me. Be an Accuracy Nazi why don’t you! Check it out or I’ll cuss you out. You KNOW I’ll do it. Especially after you were all up in my face about not being gorgeous and brilliant and clever.

2) Jasper Writes – He’s English. He’s a lawyer. He blogged about the law in a Family Guy episode. He’s insanely smart. Just read it. His most recent post will make you hungry. Don’t read it while grocery shopping or if you’ve just gone swimming. Wait at least a half hour.

3) The Chronicles of Creepy Pants – Ever wonder what the creepy, but strangely funny guy in the cubicle next to you is writing about? You. Better read this ’cause you might be sharing a fridge – and a stapler – with this dude.

4) Retention – Seriously funny. If you don’t know what steampunk is, put on your hipster glasses and read this blog. It will heal your arthritis and works wonders on hemorrhoids.

5) You’ve Been Hooked – One bellman’s stories of life in the hospitality trenches. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll wet your fanny pack.

6) I Can’t High Five – Another very recently Freshly Pressed blogger, this chick cracks me up with her irrational fears of mashed potatoes, nose whistling and high fiving. Congrats, girl! High five! Erm…I guess not.

7) Today in Heritage History – Don’t be fooled by the name. Their logline is “Smart. Funny. And Almost True.” I can’t do this post justice with a description. Just trust me.  (How does a lawyer say fuck you? Trust me. But I’m a recovering attorney, there’s a difference.)

8) Listful Thinking – Another recently Pressed chick (I don’t recommend losers, people), this blogger will keep your sinuses cleaned out of snot. I’m not sure what that means, but I think it means that water will shoot out of your nose because you’ll be laughing so hard and the boogers will be rinsed away with it. Think of her blog as a Neti-Pot. Which means who really should plan on drinking slightly saline, filtered water when you read it. She’s how I’d write if I was hip. Which I’m not.

9) The Book of Alice – This mommy blogger who shares short, pithy stories about her adorable four year old daughter, Alice, will become addictive. She’s that miniature Snickers or Lifesaver you need at 3:30 in the afternoon. Just a little fix and you’re good for the rest of the day. Also, she’s the kind soul who awarded me the 7×7 Award. Payback’s a bitch!

10) Live Clay – Even though she recently won the 7×7 Award as well (and hasn’t done her required 21 things yet…tick tock, tick tock, Clarice), I’m nominating this funny, talented, artistic chick for this award because I figure she can kill two birds with one stone – and just write one blog post accepting both. And she deserves it….blah, blah, blah.

Alright, folks. Now you have no excuse to do anything but read blogs for the rest of the day. No more of this whiny, But nobody’s writing anything good lately. Waaaaaa! These bloggers are worthy of your valuable time. But they’ve gotten enough of mine today. Off to pen the Great American Blog Post! Or maybe do some dishes and laundry. Or shower. I should shower.

How Polly Flinders Ruined My Life

Not My Private School. Not Even Close. Not Even A Little. (Image via Wikimedia)

I was a private school kid. Before you go there, I wasn’t that kind of private school kid. There were no limousines or drivers or designer bags or ivy-covered walls or disheveled teachers in tweed who lived onsite and inspired me to seize the day. In fact, I was a scholarship kid – which meant that 99% of the kids enrolled had more money than I did, but I was smarter than all of them. I raised the school’s overall standardized testing scores, won spelling bees for them, and served as my classmates’ verbal and physical punching bag – all for discounted tuition. Possessing a photographic memory and a passion for reading the World Book Encyclopedia at dinner, I knew I wasn’t normal. I quickly discovered that there wasn’t a single kid in my class who, as their mom served them meatloaf, thought to themselves, “Hmmm. I bet the R volume would be good with beef.” But I wanted to be normal. I so wanted to be.

Unlike the previous parochial school I attended, this one didn’t require the wearing of uniforms. Having spent every school day of my life in a blue plaid jumper paired with a light blue blouse with a Peter Pan collar, I was desperate for the opportunity to dress like the public school kids who waited for their bus on the opposite side of the street each morning. I pictured myself in bell bottom jeans, a crocheted halter top and bright yellow, patent leather platform heels. Because flat-chested – make that concave-chested – ten year olds don’t look at all ridiculous in see-through halter tops and neon platforms. Had my new school actually allowed pants and skimpy tops, I might have given Jodie Foster a run for her money and found myself a taxi-driving, psychotic boyfriend.

Jodie Foster - What I Thought Was Appropriate Fifth Grade Attire (Image via
Jughead "Brainiac" Jones (Image via Wikipedia)

Little did I know that this small freedom would be my downfall. Despite the fact that I’d been no less of a geek at my previous school, my uniform had shielded me in a way. We’d all looked alike and I’d managed to hide my ginormous brain – under a hat -but the kids thought I was just very fashion-forward. It made me look like Jughead, but no one ever suspected that he was smart, did they? More likely, the kids just didn’t care at that age. There’s something about puberty and hormones that transforms children into the fanged and winged raptors of Satan. I’m convinced that the case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde was really just delayed puberty. Think about it. Linda Blair was 12 when she pulled her spinning-head trick in The Exorcist. Right around the advent of puberty, Jodie Foster began turning tricks, Brooke Shields got herself naked and lost on a tropical island (on purpose, I bet!) and Scott Baio started saying stuff like, “Wa, wa, wa.” That’s not even English. That’s the secret language of Lucifer.

Chachi - "Wa Wa Wa" - That's Devil-Speak For "At Puberty, You Belong To Satan"

Unfortunately, my transfer to a non-uniform school coincided with puberty for many of my classmates. This was not the case for me. Puberty was a distant promise like the destruction of the Berlin Wall and colonies on Mars. Though the students weren’t forced to dress alike, there were rules and plenty of ‘em.


1)  FEMALE STUDENTS MAY NOT WEAR PANTS. This is not in all caps to emphasize the importance of this rule; this is actually how it appeared in the rule book. In truth, pants were allowed if the temperature was 45 degrees or below at 6 a.m. in the morning. Swear to God, this was also in the rule book. In these cases, slacks or courderoys were permitted, but absolutely no jeans because the Highway to Hell was paved with Jordache. The problem with this rule was that I grew up in Miami. It’s never that cold – and if it is, the entire family is in shock and fighting for space over the oven burners trying to warm their fingers and ward off frostbite. No one leaves the house on a chilly day in Miami. What was the school thinking? We could have died just trying to get there.

43 Degrees In Miami - I Had To Walk To School In The Snow (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

2)  The Hem of the Skirt or Dress Must Measure Two Inches or Less from the Middle of The Knee. If you’ve read my earlier post, 5 Reasons Why God Loves Short People Best , you already know how unfair this rule is for a taller-than-average  girl who’s built like Lurch and is so thin that her shadow is often mistaken for a crack in the sidewalk to be carefully side-stepped (no one wants to break their mother’s back…unless puberty has set in). Fortunately, the no-uniform rule opened up a world of fabrics to me so I was no longer putting a strain on the tartan-weavers in Scotland who worked day and night trying to create enough fabric to cover my endlessly long thighs.

This Jumper Took Scottish Tartan Weavers Seven Months To Make (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

3)  No Bare Shoulders, Cleavage or Midriffs. Though a rule about no cleavage shouldn’t have seemed necessary for fifth graders in the Seventies, remember that I was growing up in Miami. Latino girls are like crocuses; they bloom early. My best friend was Cuban and she must have been a C-cup by the time we were in sixth grade. I didn’t even own a training bra yet. Heck, I still played with Barbies and I hadn’t yet removed the red bathing suit on my Ken doll to find out what was underneath – because I was afraid I’d go to Hell.

All the rules aside, my entrance into this new school necessitated a new wardrobe. As I was a scholarship student, my parents weren’t financially prepared to take me on a shopping spree at the mall. No, the wardrobe-buying process would have to be thought out. K-mart, as an option, was quickly discarded because the clothes would have to be extremely well-made and sturdy, in order to last all year – and into the next, if possible. After all, I’d lived in two uniforms per year for the previous four years. My parents had no intention of filling my closet with dozens of new outfits. Only a few dresses would be needed.  A talented seamstress, my mother also planned whip up a few designs for me to “wow” my classmates with. Because nothing says, “Wow!”  like hand-made clothes when you’re ten, right? I was so excited.

The Patriotic Pilgrim Dress - Makes You Wanna Vomit While Singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

For about five whole seconds…but it all drained away as my mother pulled the car into a parking spot in front of a store called, Polly Flinders. Can we just start with the name here? What fifth grader in the Hip and Happenin’ Seventies wants a wardrobe manufactured by a company that sounds as though it makes pantaloons and petticoats. Worse, I’d already had a Polly Flinders experience.

In the second grade, I’d received one of their dreaded dresses for my birthday. I call it my Patriotic Pilgrim Dress. Blue with red and white smocking, its ginormous white collar ended in two sharp points, much like vampire fangs. God forbid my mother should buy me a dress that wasn’t the same color as my school uniform. With my buckled school shoes and 15th century hair style, the only thing needed to complete my look was a tri-cornered hat and a musket. The Patriotic Pilgrim Dress still fresh in my sponge-like memory, I wrinkled my nose and cringed when my mother announced, “We’re here!”  My refusal to move from my fetal position on the front seat, along with me sobbing, “Oh, God. Not here! Please, I’ll be good,” apparently gave away my distaste for the idea of shopping at Polly Flinders. But my mother said it was this or nothing. The thought of attending school in my skivvies was a threat sufficient to make me scurry from the car.

Clearly, the store catered to the Toddlers and Tiaras crowd as tiny, frilly dresses with (you guessed it…crinoline petticoats) filled the front of the shop. The skirts were so full and so short, I wasn’t sure if this was pageant hell or the only ice-skating costume shop in all of Miami. Before I could ponder them more fully, Mom grabbed my hand and dragged me down the sole, narrow pathway through the center of the store, away from the cheerful, hand-smocked confections and towards the sober Laura Ingalls Wilder dresses for girls who hadn’t yet hit puberty, but had lost every bit of Shirley Temple cuteness they ever possessed.

As Soon As I Get Dressed I Got To Go Help Pa Milk The Cow (Image via ebay)

Why is puberty relevant here? Smocking. Nearly everything manufactured by Polly Flinders was smocked and waistless, with decorative white Peter Pan or Pilgrim collars and sleeves that are gathered at the wrist and finished with lace. Now a flat-chested girl like myself could retain the image of childhood in a dress like this – granted, childhood in the Victorian era, but I looked like a kid, nonetheless. Once boobs entered the picture, however, you had yourself a maternity dress. And no one at a private, Christian school wanted their grade school students looking – erm – knocked up, if you catch my drift.

Polly Flinders Dress - Better Not Have Boobs Or They'll Think There Is A Bun In The Oven (Image via Ebay)

Not only were the dresses just plain ugly, the entire shopping experience was both depressing and mortifying. Chrome rounders of smocks were tightly crammed into the poorly-lit room like a twelve pack of soda cans, clearly intended to wean out any kid with boobs whose mother was intent on purchasing her a Polly Flinders’ dress. Scattered along the path were the bones of puberty-ridden girls who’d gotten stuck between the rounders and had never made it back out. Why hadn’t their the mothers gotten similarly mired, you ask? They were taller. Their boobs skimmed the tops of the racks.

My mother announced we would be buying four dresses. Mentally, I had one goal. Please don’t let any of them be blue. Nothing blue. Because I was taller-than-average, I needed to try them on because Mom was no longer sure of my dress size and we had to be certain that I didn’t violate the two-inch hemline rule. Here comes the mortifying part: the store had no fitting rooms. NO FITTING ROOMS. Okay, this may be fine when you’re five, but not when you’re ten, going on eleven. Especially not when you aren’t wearing a training bra to hide the boobs that you don’t yet have. Or when you’re wearing your Wonder Woman underwear. You’d think my mother would have warned me. At least told me to wear a bathing suit.

Would You Have Been Caught Dead Wearing These - And Nothing Else - In A Store At Age Ten? (Image via

“Can’t I try it on over my clothes?” I asked, as Mom sifted through a rack filled with dresses my size.

“No, I won’t be able to tell if the dress fits right in the shoulders.”

“But it’s supposed to be loose so I can grow into it. That’s what you always say.” It is what she always said. Except for that day. No, not on the Let’s-Get-Naked-In-Front-Of-Everyone-Day.

My mother was losing her patience. “Just try it on,” she demanded, shoving a shit brown dress with a Pollyanna collar at me. “No one is watching you. There’s nothing to see, anyway.”

Thanks, Mom. Drive that point home why don’t you. By now, my only goal was to get out of the store as soon as possible. See, there were BOYS in there. Even though it was a store that catered to girls, mothers often brought all of their children with them, males included. Quickly, I slipped on and off every dress as instructed, my eyes tightly shut. I guess I thought, If I can’t see the people staring at me, maybe they can’t see me. This is a philosophy my cat believes in vehemently. Apparently, though a scholarship student, I wasn’t much smarter than a tabby named Dinsworth.

The Shit Brown Polly Flinders Dress - Wear It Or I'll Smock You! (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

“Do you like this one?” Mom asked.


“How ’bout this one with Holly Hobbie on the collar? It’s blue. You love blue.”

“Uh-huh.” No, you love blue. I love not being naked in public.

“Oooh. This one’s nice!” That dressed turned out to look a lot like what Heidi would wear if her dirndl was made from a brown, patterned, Seventies hotel carpet. Did I mention that, after blue, brown was my least favorite color?

Can I Get You A Stein O' Milk? (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

So exactly how did Polly Flinders destroy my life? Simple. I showed up on the first day of fifth grade, Holly Hobbie shyly shielding her face with a bonnet on the collar of my – ugh – blue dress, and I was quickly targeted as an outsider. How? Was my gigantic brain on display? No, I’d worn a scarf. Still, my inherent geekiness was immediately obvious. Why? No one else was wearing a dress. Not a single girl in the class was wearing a dress. Not one. Neither were any of the boys, but it was a very conservative school. Apparently, dresses were for little girls with ringlets who wore frilly socks and patent leather shoes. The fact that I was wearing the ugliest dress ever sewn didn’t improve my situation. It became abundantly clear that any girl who wasn’t a complete dork wore skirts. Every day. Skirts were grown up. Skirts were cool. Denim skirts were The Holy Grail. So why couldn’t I just wear skirts? Two reasons:

1) I only had one skirt. Exactly one. It was not denim. To wear it every day would have been as ostracizing as wearing ugly dresses four days out of the week.

My Lone Skirt. Magic Must Be Holding It Up. (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

2) My mother refused to buy me any more skirts. She claimed that since I had absolutely no hips to speak of, to look at, or to identify under a microscope, that skirts were NOT appropriate. They would slip right off my body and I’d be walking around school in my Wonder Woman underwear. Funny, that didn’t seem to bother her at the Polly Flinders store. This begs the question: why did I have a skirt at all? No good answer for that. It had an elastic waist and, despite my mother’s fears, never once just slipped off my hips and collapsed into a red, flowered puddle around my feet.

Surely, I must be exaggerating. How could an entire class of girls convince their parents to let them wear skirts every single school day? Don’t forget, most of these girls were starting puberty – unlike me. As Lucifer’s newest minions, they had already mastered parental mind control, and spent their evenings slaughtering the bunnies and raccoons that lived beneath Florida’s palmetto bushes, then – drenched in blood – danced around bonfires, celebrating their kills – and training bras.

My Fifth Grade Class Photo - Nary A Dress In Sight (Even I Wore My Lone Skirt That Day) (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

Once identified as a freak, I’m afraid that I only made things worse by offering to write my essay on “The Ark of the Covenant” in rhyme, and by being the only kid in the entire class to complete all the books on the reading list. The final blow may have been bringing a few of my pet grasshoppers to school so that my classmates could also enjoy the thrill of watching Southeastern Lubbers metamorphosize over the span of several months, shedding their exoskeleton approximately five times. Who wants to learn The Hustle or how to French-braid when you can do that?

Had I not been wearing a Polly Flinders dress that first day – and 4/5 of the time after that – perhaps the kids would have overlooked my other quirks. Maybe I wouldn’t have become mesmerized by the molting and reproductive cycle of the Romalea guttata and would have gone to a slumber party or two, instead of sitting at home, burning through all the books on the friggin’ reading list.  I guess we’ll never know. Still, I hate you, Polly Flinders. And one day, I may just write a rhyming poem about it.

The Demise of Full Frontal

Nope! This Is A Family Blog, Folks!

Many of us are guilty of this. You know what I’m talking about it. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. A lot of my friends have done it. Heck, I do it all the time. The other day, on the way to a funeral, I did it in the car – multiple times. Why? I dunno. Boredom? It was, after all, a long drive. Anxiety? I was, after all, going to a funeral. Narcissism? Oh, yeah. Of course, that’s it. After all, I’m a blogger. We’re all a bunch of self-absorbed sociopaths who don’t care about anyone else but ourselves. It’s all about me, me, me! Right? Is that what you’re trying to say?

Okay, I guess I could have involved my husband. He was in the car. Driving. Also bored. Anxious to be meeting everyone in my entire family – at once. I suppose I could have shared my attention with him. That’s what you’re thinking. Except he hates for me to do that kind of thing to him when he’s driving. He puts on this extremely tense, unsmiling face every time I attempt it. He says it distracts him. It could cause him to have an accident.

So I take photos of myself instead. No, not naked. Wait, what did you think I was talking about? Perv!

I was talking about the coy photos I take of myself. The ones that are shot from peculiar perspectives so that my chin looks like an acute angle in a geometry text book, and my eyes are the size of ostrich eggs. The ones intended to make me look waifish, like Kate Moss back in the day. Yeah, I hear you. There is no angle out there capable of making me look like an emaciated super model. Okay, what about elfin? For you literary types, how about a Dickensian orphan? Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Does this help?

Please, Sir. May I Have Some More? (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

Yes, I realize the hoops and frilly jacket make me look like an orphan who fell off a pirate ship. Why are you so judgmental about poor children who are all alone in the world? Vagabonds who are manipulated into stealing for a living. Innocent souls forced to labor 18 hours a day in a workhouse. Not working for you, huh?  How about this, then?

My Niece, Kelsey. She Speaks Perfect Elvish, By The Way. (Image courtesy of Kelsey Lewis)

Don’t you dare think a dirty thought about her. Yes, she is lovely. Yes, I wish that Orlando Bloom was single and really a long-haired, towheaded elf named Legolas Greenleaf who would marry Kelsey so that she could live in a fabulous Tolkien-esque fantasy world. And we’d be in New Zealand right now, hangin’ with Peter Jackson and Frodo, filming The Hobbit.  Still don’t see it? Okay, I’m pulling out the big guns. My friend, Vivian, is the queen of the shot-from-above photo. In fact, she can make her chin virtually disappear. She’s perfected this technique by practicing – a lot. And if I looked like her, I’d take my photo all day long, too. Naked. That was for the perv who asked earlier.

My Friend, Vivian - Don't Come Too Close Or I'll Cut You With My Chin (Image courtesy of Vivian Angulo)

This brings up those photographs people take of  just a portion of their face – like the other half of their cheek is a State secret requiring security clearance and a pat down by a guy in a black suit wearing a suspiciously large wristwatch. My friend, Transman, who records his life as a transgendered dude on his blog, The Adventures of Transman , also likes to take photos of this nature. I’m pretty sure that if you visit Wikileaks, the other half of his photo is now available – and someone’s going to prison over it. You can’t just release that kind of thing willy-nilly! The plans for of a U.S. nuclear arms facility could be tattooed on Transman’s other cheek. Or the recipe for Krispy Kreme doughnut batter. Or the lyrics to Johnny Cash’s last original song – yet to be recorded by anyone.

Transman - Julian Assange Better Watch His Back (Image courtesy of Transman)

Partial portraits seem to be all the rage with the advent of Facebook, Flickr and cell phones that not only make and receive phone calls, but take photos, whiten your teeth and poach a perfect egg – simultaneously. I’m a big offender in this category as well. What? You never noticed my Gravatar pic?

The Ark Of The Covenant Is Hidden In My Nostrils - a.k.a. "The-Nostrils-That-Shall-Not-Be-Seen" (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

The above photo is one I took the day of the funeral – with my cell phone. I was wearing glasses for three reasons:

1) I think they make me look smarter. As the first person on the paternal side of the family to graduate from not one, but three, institutions of higher learning, there is a lot of pressure on me to live up to that image and appear to have earned those degrees. I suspect my relatives know that sexual favors and envelopes packed with greenbacks delivered to the appropriate people at matriculation were also involved, but I like the delusional little world I live in. The one in which I play a genius and Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory, people!) is my best friend.

2) They are slightly tinted and protect my eyes. I have perfect 20/20 vision and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible. Did I mention that I’m 43. And have perfect vision. Jealous much?

3) The frames are thick, black and totally nerdy. Translation: I think they make me look like a hipster. As I foolishly revealed earlier, I’m 43. Looking hip at this age is becoming increasingly difficult. I’d get a blue Mohawk – because everyone knows that anyone with a Mohawk is hip – except I have really large ears that stick out. A lot. This is why I can communicate with bats. And yes, they want to suck your blood, but it’s bad for P.R. Anyway, I digress. The Mohawk is a hair style that tends to emphasize large, prominent ears, and it’s really hard to feel hip when some teenager is sniping behind your back, “That’s what you’d get if Marge Simpson and Barack Obama made it.”

Make Mine Blue Please! (Image courtesy of

Regardless, I don’t think the glasses worked for their intended hipster purpose. Why? As soon as I posted the me-in-glasses photo as my blog Gravatar, another blogger, Gemini Girl In A Random World asked me if I wanted to be her blogging “bestie.” Now, that was truly a nice thing to do. However, I think that she was subliminally influenced by my photo, which I can’t help but notice makes me look a tad bit like Mayim Bialik’s character, Amy, also of The Big Bang Theory. What does that have to do with Stacie Chadwick wanting to be my “bestie?” Everything. Amy is obsessed with Sheldon Cooper’s neighbor, Penny, and refers to the girl as her “bestie.” It’s practically her catch phrase. Coincidence? Perhaps. I’m certain Stacie would say that the two things are completely unrelated. But like I said…it’s subliminal. She doesn’t realize that it’s the glasses and the unflattering photo that drew her to me and to use the word “bestie.” Still think I’m crazy? Check out this photo of Mayim Bialik as Amy:

Amy Farrah Fowler - "Bestie" Is My Catchphrase (Image courtesy of

Now imagine her without the lower half of her face. If you need to, you can scroll back up and take a second look at my photo. It’s uncanny, I tell you. By the way, Stacie Chadwick is now my blogging bestie. She swears my resemblance to Amy has nothing to do with it.

So whatever happened to the full frontal portrait? And what is it in our society that is bringing about its demise? Drought, disease, war and global warming can safely be ruled out – and that’s a concern. Normally, everything can be blamed on one of these four factors. Thus, we must look outside the box. Or perhaps, inside our very souls.

Why would any of us want to hide part, but not all, of our face? Have we compartmentalized the visage above our necks in the same manner we have our bodies for years? Shoulders: slumpy. Tits: perky. Abs: non-existent. Hips: child-bearing. Butt: bootylicious. Legs: very long. Feet: hidden by non-existent abs. For millions of years, it’s been completely acceptable in many cultures to hide certain body parts. In fact, in most cultures, it’s required. If the fire department ever had to knock out a wall in your home in order to remove you from it – and nothing was on fire – it is preferred. Even public beaches have an unwritten canon by which one must abide. For example, if you think you look good in an itsy bitsy thong bikini  – and your clothing size is higher than the average age of a kindergarten student – beach etiquette says, “Uh-uh. No way.”  Butt floss is perfectly acceptable under clothing, but flossing in public is considered rude. And, no, the spray tan you got before you headed down to Florida doesn’t make you look any thinner. Being tanorexic doesn’t make you anorexic. Unless it was applied by Dumbledore himself, it’s essentially paint, not magic.

Doesn't Mommy Look Skinny? (Image courtesy of

Few cultures require the covering of the face. If they do, it is usually for religious or modesty reasons, not because millions of women don’t like their shriveled upper lips or think their nostrils are too bulbous. If a person is unhappy with their facial appearance, it is the custom in some societies to change the offending feature or features with plastic surgery. The results are generally pleasing, thus making it unlikely that the person will feel the need to hide his or her face.

Michael Jackson (Image courtesy of

Of course, there are always exceptions. And in some cases, society, as a whole, may wish someone would hide part or all of their face – despite them having had plastic surgery. The fact that the person refuses to do so suggests a strong need and desire to keep the facial features revealed, if at all possible.

Joceyln Wildenstein (a.k.a. Cat Woman) Refusing To Cooperate With Society's Request That She Cover Up (Image courtesy of

So the question remains why someone would not photograph their whole face. The following possibilities remain:

1) They have deep, permanent scars from a werewolf attack. A full frontal portrait would both reveal the scars and serve as a manner in which to identify a serial killer who murders once every blue moon. Okay, every full moon, but blue moon sounded so poetic.

Still From An American Werewolf In London (Image via Wikipedia)

2) The person is actually Two-Face from Batman and he’s trying to find love on Even comic book villains need affection. Except who’s gonna answer your ad when your profile photo looks like this:

Two-Face - Why Can't I Get A Date? (Image courtesy of

I don’t care how much you claim to love romantic walks on the beach, gourmet cooking, giving foot massages or socializing with super heroes, most single girls out there are turned on by a little mystery. And if they can see what’s wedged between your molars even when your mouth is closed – technically, anyway – it can be a deal killer. While most women appreciate a sinewy man, none of them want to actually see the sinew. Yes, there’s a difference.

3) The person is hiding a deep-seated duality (i.e. split personality) and displaying both sides of their face in a single photo is like making them face (Ha! A pun – it’s like I’m pun-ishing you. Oops, I just did it again. On purpose.) the reality that two people are living in a their single brain. This is akin to two people sharing one of those tiny Ikea store dioramas that masquerade as examples of apartment living. Someone like Mel Gibson. For years, he seemed like your typical Hollywood actor: charming, normal, Jew-loving and Holocaust-believing, but it turns out that once the star has a few shots in him, he morphs into a bigoted psychopath who no longer believes in history. From the photo below, it appears there may be yet another personality swimming around in that space between his ears.

Mel Gibson - Manic Racist Actor Or Near-Sighted Trucker Who Believes In The Holocaust (Image courtesy of

4) The person held the camera too close to their face when they took the photo, resulting in only a partial portrait. The result is regretted, but they didn’t take another shot, so they post it anyway because they have low self-esteem and aren’t the perfectionists they should be. I know. This theory is extremely unlikely.

5) They have short arms…and thus held the camera too close to their face when they took the photo, resulting in only a partial portrait. Since God loves short people best, they are forgiven and the discussion is closed.

6) They have a deep-seated hatred for one specific facial feature, but are too deep and non-superficial to ever consider plastic surgery. They probably live in Portland, Oregon. Their favorite song is by Phish. It is also likely that they are over-educated, liberal and poor. The reason that they’re poor is because they spend all their money on organic food and that shit is pricey. Thus, they suffer through their pain and compensate by taking only partial portraits of the facial features they like. Bragging about the fact that they will never be  the kind of idiot who’d get Botox is a pastime.

7) They think partial portraits look artsy, edgy and hip. And they are…if you’re artsy, edgy and hip. Me. I’m 43. We’ve already had this discussion. This is my attempt to look all of the above.

And You Thought Clowns Were Scary (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I look like a corpse. If I wanted to act, this could be my headshot for my audition as Dead Hooker Number 3 on CSI: Special Victims Unit.  Either that or a mannequin –  a really creepy one that comes to life when its owner is asleep. One that has a knife that flashes in the candlelight. (Don’t ask me why they have candles lit! It’s ambiance.) My eyes are all glassy and I’m working the Clockwork Orange lashes. If I was humming “Singin’ In The Rain,” you’d all be running your asses off right now.

If you’re 19 and gorgeous, you can pull the partial portrait off. You can also wear a plaid shirt and let your hair just hang and not wear much makeup – and look perfect. If she had a pair of thick, black nerdy glasses on, Kelsey would be the ultimate hipster. If she was dating the lead singer of The Decemberists, she’d be a legend – and she could borrow his thick, black, nerdy glasses. Instead of mine. That’s a lie. She doesn’t borrow my glasses. She lives in another state. She’d probably like me to buy her a pair of thick, black nerdy glasses, but her birthday isn’t until August. And she’s hip enough as it is. Anyway, I really want her to end up with Orlando Bloom.

Kelsey - How Freakin' Cute Am I? (Image courtesy of Kelsey Lewis)

Likewise, the partial photograph works well for women well over 19 who are also stunners. Again, my friend Vivian is a perfect example. I’m not sure why she chooses to hide any part of her face, but it does, indeed, serve to make her look hip. Which is probably why she dates a much younger guy who’s an artist. And she hangs out with really hip, artsy types. And goes to lots of hip, artsy events. Okay, I hate her. Not really. Hate is a strong word. I reserve that for Will Wheaton. If you were Sheldon Cooper’s best friend, you’d understand why.

Vivian's Eye - I Feel Older Just Looking At My Groovy Cool Hipster Friend (Image courtesy of Vivian Angulo)

During that car ride I mentioned earlier, I tried to take an eye photo. I wasn’t trying to copy Vivian because I hadn’t yet seen the above photos, but I was still very desperate to appear hip. My attempt wasn’t quite so…well, cool. Perhaps because it came out blurry. Now, there are a certain number of fuzzy, yet hip, photos out there. This isn’t one of them. In fact, the first thought that popped into my head was Cyclops – as viewed by a person who doesn’t have 20/20 vision. Like me. Jealous, yet? Hey, I gotta work the one thing I got goin’ for me. The eye shot also accentuates the Tammy Faye Baker mascara I was rockin’ that day. What? Doesn’t everyone get super dolled up for a funeral?

Run! It's Coming After You! (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

When it became clear that my eyes are scary as opposed to hip, and best hidden behind thick, black, nerdy glasses – even if they make me look like Amy Farrah Fowler – I decided to focus on the lower half of my face. My lips, after all, are generally considered one of my best features. Naturally full and always balmed or glossed, I’ve often been accused of having them enhanced. Which is funny because I was going to have anything enhanced, there are so many other places I’d start. But I guess I’m a bit Portlandia in my attitude towards plastic surgery, so I’m all natural. Still, the fact that people have thought my lips were fake does raise a red flag. Do people say that when your lips look gorgeous…or Real Housewives of Orange County-esque. This photo answers that question.

Is It Me Or Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Image courtesy of Cristy Lewis)

Lord, I look like I’m auditioning to become one of the Jolie-Pitt clan. Angelina…you can have a full-grown child with big ass lips like yours, but you don’t have to get pregnant. And I’ve already been to college. And I’m already married. With cats. You could have grand cats. And I’m weaned. Very important to know when a potential child has lips this big. And open. Like I’m ready to suckle. So gross. No wonder that perv asked me if I took naked photos of myself. Okay, to make up for scaring you with my photos – several times – I offer you my version of an apology. Remember those plastic surgery freaks that society wishes would cover up, but refuse. Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t have to see full frontals of them? Just for you folks…

Carrot Top - Half As Scary? (Image courtesy of Flickr)

You’re welcome!