Holy Diarrhea! I’m A Hypochondriac

sick man

It’s true. I’ve denied it for years, not because I was ashamed of being a hypochondriac, but because I didn’t think the word applied to me. Why? Miss Snarky Pants, with all of her books, her degrees, her 4-year reign as FCS’s Spelling Bee Champion – don’t be a hater! – never bothered to look up the friggin’ word in a dictionary. Nope, I determined its meaning from overhearing its usage in every day speech. My parents, for example, used the word a lot, and, come to think of it, slewed their eyes towards me whenever they uttered it. For all these years, I’d been operating under the delusion that a hypochondriac was a person who believed they had many illnesses, when, in fact, they did not.

Color me red when I discovered the error of my ways. The cornerstone upon which the entire foundation of who I am and what I believe was crushed when I Googled hypochondriac, only to discover that Dictionary.com defines it as “an excessive preoccupation with one’s health, usually focusing on some particular symptom, [sic] as cardiac or gastric problems.” For a moment, I thought, That’s not me. I usually think I have cancer. I’m not worried about my heart…except for when I can feel its beat pulsing in my temples, and then I’m certain I’m suffering an aneurysm. Hey, it could happen. And my gastric problems are real. You can’t fake diarrhea.

I scrolled down to the second definition: a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health. Crap! I couldn’t deny it. My health sneaks its way into every conversation I have these days. I get asked, “How are you feeling?” more often than Taylor Swift gets asked, “Who are you going to write a nasty song about next week dating?” For example, today while I was warning my outdoorsy neighbor about the recent mosquito-borne pathogen outbreak in Florida, she blurted out, “What the hell is dengue fever?” However, her next question was “How’s your stomach feeling?” This woman has never even used my bathroom, but she’s knows that my bowel has been distressed lately.

And yes, I’m terrified that I’m going to contract dengue fever. Why?

(1) Eight cases have been reported in Florida in the last few weeks, in two counties: Martin and Miami-Dade. Granted, I don’t live in either of those counties, but mosquitoes can fly. Fly! They aren’t constrained by the nightmarish gridlock on I-4 as families squeeze in a pre-Labor Day Disney visit. No, mosquitoes view that arterial roadway as, well, an actual artery. Moreover, the Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito that typically carries the virus, prefers human blood to that of other mammalians. Did I mention that only the breeding females transmit the disease? Mothersuckers!

Mothersucker! (Image via Wikipedia)

My Blood Is On Your Hands. Erm, I Mean, In Your Stomach. (Image via Wikipedia)

(2) I know someone who contracted dengue fever while in Central America. Obviously, the disease isn’t all that rare. His case was so severe, he prayed to God for death. And he’s an atheist.

(3) When it comes to mosquitoes, my blood is a bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. No, make that a FREE bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. Yeah, I had to Google that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Their lust for my blood culminates almost daily in a feeding frenzy that’s convinced me that no vampire could ever resist me. Take that, Bella Swan.

(4) I’m an unlucky person. Sort of. In my mind, most of the good things that  have happened to me in life resulted from hard work and perky breasts, not good fortune.

The problem is that I’m a recovering attorney, and my mind operates in a very specific way. When I assess that there is a threat within a 500 mile or so radius, I scour the Internet for evidence to support or dismiss that threat. After reading dozens of articles, blogs, Wikipedia entries, and a couple of double-blind, random, placebo-controlled studies, and determining that the threat is valid, I then begin comparing the disease’s list of symptoms with my current ailments. Dengue fever sufferers, for example, may expect fevers as high as 106 F, severe headaches, body rash, joint and muscle pain so draconian it can cause contortions, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and minor bleeding from the gums and nose.

My gums bled this morning when I brushed my teeth. My lower back is killing me and I’ve had recurrent abdominal distress for over two weeks. Someone’s tap dancing on a nerve directly behind my left eye, as I write. I could be dying. But the only doctor I’ve seen in months is my chiropractor.

ben franklin

Benjamin Franklin: A Man Of Mad Skills, I Say!

Why? Because I don’t really believe I have, or am going to catch, dengue fever, but the chance exists. In law, you might call it reasonable doubt or preponderance of the evidence. If there is any reasonable doubt that I could be bitten by an infected mosquito, then I have to take the necessary precautions to make sure that neither I, nor Hubby, my family, all my FB friends, all my Twitter friends, all the friends whom I’ve actually met, the lady in front of me in the checkout line who looks like she has a weak immune system, and each and every one of my adoring blog readers, contract dengue fever. Does that make me a hypochondriac or just a concerned citizen who believes that Benjamin Franklin was correct when he wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? C’mon, he nailed the whole electricity thing. The dude had mad smart skills.

Call me a hypochondriac, but it won’t stop me from hiding indoors after dusk for the next couple of months. After all, I live in one of the warmest, wettest places in the country, and that doesn’t take into account Tampa’s strip clubs, which are a hot mess all on their own. My yard breeds mosquitoes the way those Duggars spawn children. Our 1920’s bungalow rests on bricks stacked a foot high – and, based on the bites that pepper my calves and ankles – the dark, sweltering space below it is probably the largest Aedes aegypti neonatal unit in Florida.

Today, I’ll be calling our local mosquito control center and requesting that they do a drive by drenching. Likewise, thrice-daily DEET baths, and mesh body armor after dark are probably in order. I’ve considered sending Hubby outside 5 to 10 minutes ahead of me as a decoy of sorts, but that would involve stepping over a serious moral line. One I’d readily cross (hey, his immune system has my lymph nodes mounted on wooden plaque hanging on its wall), but those pesky, little bloodsuckers won’t touch him. It’s like his mother bottle-fed him a diet of Off! mixed with Skin So Soft. I thought spouses were supposed to have each other’s backs, but mine won’t even donate a pint of blood.

Would You Care For Some Fresh Cracked Salmonella On Your Salad Today?

Would You Care For Some Fresh Cracked Salmonella On Your Salad Today?

Prevention is the key to beating hypochondria. If I’m not bitten by a mosquito, I won’t worry that my headache is indicative of blistering fevers and aching muscles to come. Or, if I don’t leave the house until Thanksgiving. Or if I temporarily move to Antarctica.

Plus, I have bigger concerns. Did you know that spices can carry salmonella? The FDA will be releasing a study that shows that 15% of coriander, 12% of both basil and oregano, and 4% of regular ol’ peppercorns imported to the United States are contaminated with the potentially-deadly virus. Americans are particularly at risk because we tend to add pepper to our food after it is cooked – and the heating process is what destroys the salmonella virus.

Now ask yourself, Have I sprinkled a little fresh, ground pepper to my food recently? When did the chef add that coriander to my curry? What about the basil I use in my homemade Italian vinaigrette?

Now who’s the hypochondriac?

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Are you a hypochondriac? Do you discuss your ailments in the same way you used to brag about your children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments? I want to hear about it. Share your favorite story in the Comments section below.

If Sheldon Cooper Wrote Haiku

The Pain of an Engineer Amongst Ph.Ds

The Pain Of A Lowly Engineer

The condescension

oh, Sheldon, stabs the meek heart

in this engineer

- Howard Wolowitz

Leonard Driving...As Usual

Leonard Driving…As Usual

Einstein bled physics,

Newton unlocked gravity,

Sheldon still can’t drive

- Leonard Hofstadter

Grasshopper, You Are The One True God!

Grasshopper, You Are The One True God!

Grasshopper of strength,

may your mint milk inspire words,

ones spoken aloud

- Raj Koothrappali

The Russians Love Me!

The Russians Love Me!

Howard went to space,

whining like a transmission

needing a tune-up

- Sheldon Cooper

Run, Priya! Run!

Run, Priya! Run!

Fuck haiku, Priya.

Come near Leonard again, bitch,

I’ll cut you like grass

- Penny

amy and sheldon kissing

Oh, Sheldon Cooper,

your chastity belt chafes raw

my unshaven loins

- Amy Farrah Fowler

Courtesy of thecomicking.net

Courtesy of thecomicking.net

Your MeMa may live,

my bearded Wesley Crusher.

Still, I scream, “Wheaton!”

- Sheldon Cooper

big bang elevatorGeniuses upstairs

make space toilets work, but not

the elevator

- Mrs. Gunderson (downstairs neighbor)

***

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Why I Hate Witty People

Oscar Wilde - Godfather of Wit

Oscar Wilde – Godfather of Wit

The definition of wit arose in a discussion I had the other night over beer and hamburgers. As a general rule, I’m against wit when meat, cheese and hops are involved as the effort is rarely remembered the following day since the recipients of the wit are either still stewing in their cholesterol-induced brain swell or just hungover. I, personally, have yet to ponder someone’s witticism from the night before while my head is dangling over the porcelain throne, so I’m assuming no one else does either.

Truth be told, I’m rarely witty whether or not beef and Budweiser is being consumed. Why, you ask? Clearly, I’m a mammoth of intellectual funny-isms or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. The problem is that I’m slow to wit. I come up with clever epigrams approximately fifty-one minutes after the witty comment would have been appropriate. Granted, my observations are often much more adroit than the retorts made by my compatriots at the time, but they’re late. Way late. Running-out-to-the-24-hour-pharmacy-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-buy-a-pregnancy-test late. This is fine if you’re writing a column or posting on Facebook, but I suspect that my friends may wonder if I’ve hired a ghost writer exclusively for those purposes because in person, my comments often tend to invoke the nervous laughter that is only uttered when others are uncomfortable or feel obligated to do something other than stare. You know what I’m talking about. Pity laughter – the awkward chuckle often heard in funeral parlors as friends and loved ones discuss zany things the deceased used to do when they weren’t so…well, dead.

Until recently, however, I’d always thought I was witty. Like everyone, I would have, on occasion, a particularly good evening. During these rare events, droll observations would drip off my lips like drool off a St. Bernard’s muzzle. Strangers would contemplate inviting me to dinner parties in the future. I basked in the glow of my sheer cleverness. My friends, on the other hand, would shrug and finally credit the alcohol. When I was having an off night (which in reality was a typical night), I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would write something incredibly astute and hilarious at a later date. Something that would be published. Something that would one day appear in quote books or, alternatively, quote websites or quote clouds as physical books will probably be extinct by the time I’m dead – and everyone knows the most surefire way to be included in a collection of quotes is to be dead first.

But back to the other night. A typical night, I might add, made even more typical by the fact that I was dining with a woman who has more degrees than a thermometer and was educated in Britain, the Birthplace of Wit; a gay man (Oh, step off your PC soapbox – if a gay man could carry a child in the uterus he doesn’t have, he would also be the Birthplace of Wit!) and my husband, perhaps one of the funniest people on the planet. I didn’t have a chance in hell. And they were talking about France and things that are French. If I was Sarah Palin, I’d tell you that I’ve been to France. But the truth is that I had a two hour layover in the Charles de Gaulle airport on the way to London. I did buy a baguette with brie on it and some Loreal hair conditioner, but I don’t think that truly constitutes having experienced the City of Lights. Unless, as I pointed out, you’re Sarah Palin – and then you wouldn’t have to buy a sandwich or hair products. You’d just claim you could see the Eiffel Tower from your First Class seat and go back to reading your magazine, the name of which would escape you.

Sarah Palin’s View from Her Seat on the Plane

My gay friend lived in Paris for several years, and my uber-educated friend is one of those artsy-types with an obsession for obscure European facts. My sole comment during this portion of the conversation consisted of something like, “What do you expect? They’re French.” This is my go-to statement when chatter turns to things francais because it applies universally. Doesn’t matter if you’re discussing the French’s attitude towards their politicians’ mistresses, their penchant for smoking from the time they can sit upright in a pram, or their insistence upon putting mushrooms in absolutely everything they cook. The easiest response for one who can’t come up with something witty is to simply chime in, “What do you expect? They’re French.” Following said statement with a knowing chortle is completely optional.

Grateful as I was when the discussion turned away from French cinema, I was disturbed when it turned to the topic of wit, generating a lively debate surrounding the word’s definition. Now, I’ve always ascribed to what is generally considered to be the most common definition of the word – at least according to those silly books that collect such information, a.k.a. dictionaries – and they define wit as “the natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.” As I have been perceiving and understanding things since I was knee-high to Tom Cruise, I was confident that I fit the bill. Hell, I possess a very expensive advanced degree and I’ve never failed a test in my life. Okay, that’s not completely true. I actually failed my first driver’s test, but I was set-up and, anyway, I totally aced the written portion. As I was saying, arbitrary tests that don’t involve operating something with a carburetor concede that I qualify as an intelligent human being. Then again, poop-throwing in chimps is considered a sign of intelligence, so the bar can’t be all that high.

A Really Smart Chimp

Our dinner companions – my husband excluded as he does have to live with me – insisted that wit involves a timing component, and argued that if brilliance doesn’t strike as swiftly as lightning, it might as well not bother to strike at all. Granted, some dictionaries list “quickness of perception” or an ability for repartee or banter in their definitions of wit. But it’s never the first definition. It’s not the primary definition. Heck, on one website, it was subsection (d) of the third definition. Regardless, it was the meaning of choice for my friends. (And may I point out here and now that my gay friend is the same friend who once erroneously claimed that The Osmonds outsold Sonny and Cher in their heyday, so his perception is clearly warped). But, as former employer of mine used to say ad nauseum, “Perception is everything.” You can’t be witty in a vacuum. Wit requires an audience. In my case, I thought an audience of people with nothing better to do than read my meanderings was sufficient, but that evening I was informed that it was not the same. Apparently, in the Aesop fable, wit is the rabbit and the old adage of “slow and steady wins the race” doesn’t apply. My humor is the turtle and muddling along at a consistent pace just doesn’t cut it. Wit isn’t a marathon; it’s a sprint. If I can’t swiftly enunciate a zinger or amuse dinner guests with banter worthy of a Nora Ephron film, I might as well don a dunce cap and resign myself to eating Taco Bell in dark room by myself – maybe with with Carrot Top if I’m lucky. Actually, I think I’d rather eat alone. At least I’m funny on paper.

For days now, I’ve wallowed in this pit of dullard despair until someone recognized by millions as being remarkably witty – in fact, he’s paid quite a lot of money to be witty – appeared to take up my case. In a recent HBO special, comedian Ricky Gervais suggested that Oscar Wilde, the Godfather of Wit, also suffered from Dilatory Epigram Syndrome. When asked by a customs official if he had anything to declare, Wilde famously stated, “Only my intelligence.” Gervais suggested that the retort had probably occurred to Wilde sometime after an earlier encounter with a customs official. You know, one of those, “Damn! I should have said this!” moments. I know those moments well. Really well. Not on a first name basis well, but on a secret-birthmarks-that-no-one-else-knows-about well. According to Gervais, once Wilde had that moment, he stored it up and waited, crouched like a spider ready to attack. Please ask me if I’ve something to declare, he would think to himself. And finally, someone did. Wilde declared his genius. Then he died. Now he’s got entire books of quotes devoted entirely to things he allegedly said or wrote.

Ricky Gervais – Oscar Wilde Scholar

This may shatter many people’s perception of Wilde as the erudite dinner guest who spit out impromptu witticisms the way Americans spit out haggis into their napkins in a Scottish pub. If his initiation of a clever comment was machine gun rapid, I’ve always fantasized Wilde’s voice as luxuriously slow and languid. When he opened his mouth to speak, I imagine the guests’ forks would hover inches below their mouths because whatever choice bite was to emerge from Wilde’s lips was certainly tastier than anything on their plates. However, Gervais’ view suggests that the playwright and poet may have practiced his quips religiously in his state room, pacing the short length of the carpet reciting the verbal gems he would deliver should the appropriate question be offered. Perhaps he scribbled down all the things he wished he’d said at the previous evening’s dinner party into a little notebook, then rattled them off as soon as the opportunity arose again later in the week.

Oscar Wilde – Godfather of Wit

During the Victorian era, the issues of politics, English society, literature and the arts, and religion were popular topics in dining and drawing rooms all over Britain. It would have been easy for Wilde to anticipate future conversations and arm himself accordingly, loading his quips like bullets into a pistol and pulling the trigger whenever appropriate. When the subject of the Americas or politics was broached, he could rattle off, “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people,” a statement which would have signaled uproarious laughter and tittering at any Victorian table. If the topic turned to fellow playwright, critic and frequent dinner guest, George Bernard Shaw, Wilde may have been well-prepped when he slung this backhanded compliment: “Bernard Shaw is an excellent man; he has not an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him.” In a closed society, self-described by Wilde as one in which one only “has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people…” in order to be admitted, amusing the cream of London society would have been a priority in order to ensure his continued success, both socially and financially.

So to those friends of mine whose synapses fire away quickly over appetizers, leaving the rest of us behind in a haze of smoke and clever diatribes, I say,” Erm…hold on second. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. Just give me a second. No, really. This is going to be hilarious.” Forget it, I’ll get back to you in about fifty-one minutes and when I do, prepare to die. Or maybe you’ll just blush or giggle or get a little embarrassed because I did it in print. Online. And everyone who knows me also knows who you are, so it kinda sucks for you, really. But I will do it. I’ll be witty and you’ll rue the day you ever said I wasn’t.  The slow and steady spirit of Oscar Wilde inhabits me. Can I say that it’s a little uncomfortable because he was a large man? An awfully large man.

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Fictionary: Preventing The Extinction Of My Muffin Top

Image

What Is Fictionary?

It’s a clever word coined by my blogging buddy, Kylie, over at The Life of Kylie, that refers to new words, phrases, or new definitions for existing words or phrases – often punny in nature – created by people like me who have way too much time on their hands. What’s more, she’s turned it into a game. More accurately, a contest for which the prize is muffins or cupcakes. How could I not participate? Due to recent weight loss, my muffin top is shrinking at an alarming rate. A win, on my part, could help me regain my title as the Muffin Top Queen of the Blogosphere.

Will You Help?

Sure, images of starving children in Africa or pitiful pups in cages shown on television accompanied by any Sarah McLachlan tune are probably the triggers for the heart strings attached to your wallet. However, I totally want don’t need your money; I need your likes. Just one like and a comment celebrating my Fictionary genius from each of my loyal readers is all that is standing between this:

A Starving Muffin Top On Its Way To Extinction

A Starving Muffin Top On Its Way To Extinction

and this:

My Goal: Queen Muffin Top Of The Blogosphere!

Muffin Top Queen Of The Blogosphere

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Once my muffin top has gone the way of the Dodo Bird or the Saber-tooth Tiger, there’s no bringing it back. As I’m sure you are aware, the future of Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top has been threatened recently by the destruction of its natural habitat (i.e. encroachment of high-waisted, stretch jeans), climate change (i.e. Bikram yoga), and, most critically, an interruption in the food chain (i.e. I’m out of vodka and lard!). Will you allow your children to grow up in a world devoid of Miss Snarky Pants’ spare tire? I didn’t think so.

Miss Snarky Pants’ Fictionary Entries

Adorababy: (adj.) The point at which an infant stops looking like a potato and begins to resemble a cute homo sapien.

Ex: A few days ago, the sight of little Katie’s squinched-up eyes and crimson cheeks made me recoil in terror, but now she’s adorababy.

Opression: (noun) The mark left on one upon whom Oprah Winfrey has fallen.

Ex: Though my broken arm has finally healed, the opression that the talk show host left on my wrist will never disappear.

Litterate: (noun) The score given to various forms of litter.

Ex: On a litterate scale of one to ten, a cigarette butt rates only a three, whereas one of Lindsay Lohan’s used fire crotch tampons is a ten.

Shampoo: (noun) 1. Faux fecal matter; 2. Non-Disney approved Winnie the Pooh merchandise

Ex: The old lady nearly shat herself when she discovered she’d been sitting on the shampoo that I placed on her seat.

Middlebrow(noun) The third brow which typically connects the left and right eyebrows.

Ex: Though many people think Michael Stipe was the driving force behind R.E.M., insiders claim that it was drummer Bill Berry’s middlebrow that inspired most of their hits.

Not Only Am I Losing My Religion, I'm Losing My Lunch Just Looking At Bill Berry's Middlebrow.

Not Only Am I Losing My Religion, I’m Losing My Lunch Just Looking At Bill Berry’s Middlebrow.

Nexus(proper noun) Blood supply store popular with vampires.

Ex: Forget that True Blood crap; I’m heading over to Nexus to stock up on some O negative.

Microwave: (noun) 1. A small salutation made with the hand when one is unsure as to whether or not the recipient is someone he or she knows.

Ex: He looked familiar, but after last week’s tequila binge, I wasn’t sure so I just gave him a microwave.

Nativity: (noun) The percentage of Native American ancestry that a Caucasian claims to possess.

Ex: I’m at least 1.25% nativity since my great great uncle’s sister’s friend once shook hands with a Cherokee.

Melodrama: (proper noun) Any situation involving alcohol, profanity, verbal rants, racial slurs and actor Mel Gibson.

Ex: Due to the number of recent complaints of Melodrama, the LAPD have assigned a police scanner code specifically for incidents involving Mel Gibson.

Not Another Melodrama, I Hope!

Not Another Melodrama, I Hope!

Mangrove: (noun) A nightclub or bar regularly frequented by single men.

Ex: Now that Bruce dropped that tranny he was dating, he’s been prowling every mangrove on the strip in search of a sugar daddy.

Collide: (past tense verb) The act of two people lying about the same thing simultaneously.

Ex: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan collide about the details of Ryan’s tax plan during yesterday’s press conference.

Vulcanic Eruption( proper noun) The physiological response that occurs when Spock engages in sexual intercourse.

Ex: Oh, Spock! You’re hot and all, but if you have a Vulcanic eruption in my mouth, I’m going to bite your dick off.

Spock: My Vulcanic Eruptions Register A 12 On The Richter Scale.

Spock: My Vulcanic Eruptions Register A 12 On The Richter Scale.

Now What?

1) Take a moment. 2) Like this post. 3) Comment on my sheer wit and your favorite Fictionary entry. 4) Visit Kylie’s blog and tell her that you want to ensure that Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top lives to see another day! 5) Pat yourself on the back for being such a lemming do-gooder.

Start baking those Recrimination Muffins, Kylie…

***

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An Open Letter To Michelle Obama

Tell Me The Truth. Do You Like Them? Do You Like Them?

Tell Me The Truth. Do You Like Them? Do You Love Them?

Dear Michelle,

I am so disappointed in you. After thousands of people worked tirelessly to ensure that your husband, President Barack Obama, was again elected to the highest office in this country, you go and blow his inauguration for all of us. A week later, I’m still appalled. For a woman with such class, intelligence and beauty, how could you steal your husband’s thunder as you did? It was his big day; the last time he’ll ever place his hand on a Bible and be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in front of millions of chilled constituents and television viewers. But thanks to you, most Americans will only remember January 21, 2013 as the day the First Lady debuted bangs.

Before you begin with the excuses, I realize you technically took your bangs out for a trial run a few days earlier to celebrate your 49th birthday and the launch of your Twitter account, but the world didn’t officially check out your new fringe until Inauguration Day. As First Lady, someone must have educated you on the significant buzz generated by something as drastic as thick, flirty bangs. For crying out loud, one of the world’s most renowned experts on First Lady Dos and Don’ts, literally and figuratively, has been working for your husband for the last four years as Secretary of State.

Hillary Knows The Power Of Both Good And Bad Hair

One Of Hillary’s Many Hair Don’ts; Fortunately, She’s So Awesome That It Doesn’t Matter.

Did you not think to consult with Hillary Clinton before embarking upon such a controversial voyage toward sassy bobdom? Did four years of the planet’s pop culture obsession with your J. Crew cardigans, your finely-honed triceps and your dazzling smile not clue you in to the fact that everything you do is so amazeballs, it makes your husband’s accomplishments appear minuscule by comparison? How can a measly president keep up?

Don’t believe me? Here are just a few conversations that I totally made up to illustrate my point have overheard in the past couple of years:

American 1: “Hey, did you hear that Osama Bin Laden is dead?”

I Thought You Believed In Gun Control, Michelle!

I Thought You Believed In Gun Control, Michelle. Look At The Ammo, Erm, I Mean Arms On You!

American 2: “About damn time. Anyway, did you see that incredible dress that Michelle Obama wore on Oprah today? Her arms are totally ripped!”

***

American 1: “I’m so psyched. Thanks to President Obama and Obamacare, my health insurance is going to cover my pre-existing conditions and my birth control pills.”

American 2: “Huh? Did you hear that Michelle Obama is nominated for a Grammy? I loved her book. I’ve heard that the vegetables she grows in the White House garden have ten times as many vitamins as your standard organic fare – and you can develop super hero powers after eating them. Sasha, for example, once gave Chuck Norris a painful wedgie that left him so disabled he had to change the name of his show to Walker With A Limp, Texas Ranger. After eating a single serving of White House garden broccoli, Malia memorized the entire Oxford English Dictionary…in Finnish.

Chuck Norris: I'm Not Doing A Roundhouse Kick; I Just Can't Put My Leg Down Since Sasha Gave Me That Damn Wedgie!

Chuck Norris: I’m Not Doing A Roundhouse Kick; I Just Can’t Put My Leg Down Since Sasha Gave Me That Damn Wedgie!

***

American 1: “Thanks to President Obama’s support, my state legalized gay marriage, and now my partner and I can finally get hitched after twenty-five years together.”

American 2: “I’m pretty sure that was Michelle Obama’s idea; after all, her designer of choice, Jason Wu, is gay. Plus, nothing screams equality like her sassy ass bangs.”

***

Adolph Hitler: I Can't Compete With Michelle Obama's Hair

Adolph Hitler: I Still Can’t Believe That Woman’s Bangs Get More Press Than My Manly Mustache!

Is this sinking in, Michelle? Do you realize that, at this very moment, if you were to Google “Michelle Obama Hair,” you’d find an astounding 106 million results? Your hair alone culls more than three times the hits as does Adolf Hitler’s entire murderous career – one which was nearly outshone by the black caterpillar named Otto who lived above his upper lip. Hillary Clinton, whose tresses were famously criticized throughout her two term tenure as First Lady, garners a paltry 31 million results – and she’s been in the public eye for over twenty years. In a world in which bad news always seems to trump good news, it’s confounding to discover that the positive reviews about your gleaming mane easily outnumber the negative appraisals of Hillary’s helmet head.

Perhaps it’s difficult for someone like you, someone who’s never had a bad hair day in her life, to understand the power of bangs. They’re a decisive, aggressive move, much like invading Russia in winter or refusing to use Gatling guns at Little Bighorn – and we all know how those choices impacted Hitler and Custer, respectively. Poor little Taylor Swift was transformed from gawky, teen queen into a sleek, man-eater with one long snip across her forehead and a few passes with a flat iron. Suddenly, she metamorphosized from a mother-in-law’s wet dream into the bane of every eligible bachelor’s existence. When Michael J. Fox doesn’t want his son to date you, that’s a pretty clear indication that you’ve succumbed to fringe-induced flooziness.

Zooey Deschanel: My Bangs Hide The Three Moons That Revolve Around My Eyeballs.

Zooey Deschanel: My Bangs Hide The Three Moons That Revolve Around My Eyeballs.

The thing that really chaps my ass, Michelle, is that you allowed a mere flight of fancy to outshine your hubby on his big day. Let’s face it; bangs are almost always snipped on a whim. And just like that last martini, bold, blunt bangs are almost always a mistake…unless your name is Zooey Deschanel, who doesn’t count because her eyeballs are so large, they have their own satellites. No one can carry bangs off for long and growing them out is worse than being informed that your sober living partner is Charlie Sheen.

Of course, the greater concern is – now that you’ve demonstrated a desire to one-up the president – what you are planning to debut at the State of the Union address? Knee cap liposuction? Eyelash extensions? A neon pink merkin?

May I suggest something that makes an impact, yet is temporary? Something that President Obama and you can do together. A statement that will eliminate the image of your bangs from our collective memory and bring your lovely forehead out of hiding. A look that will demonstrate your solidarity as America’s most famous, most beloved – and most romantic – couple.

Perhaps this:

Stop Stalin', Honey And Wave To The Crowd!

“Stop Stalin’, Michelle, And Wave To The Crowd! We Can Shave Them Off Tomorrow.

With Great Respect and Admiration,

Miss Snarky Pants

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Photo Credits:

Michelle Obama With Bangs: HuffingtonPost.com
Hillary Clinton Hair Don’t: CBS.com
Michelle Obama With Guns: Allure.com
Chuck Norris: FishingJones.com
Adolph Hitler: Wikipedia.com
Zooey Deschanel: Allure.com

I Say Tomato; You Say, “What’s That?”

picky eaterGrowing up, I was a picky eater. Tomatoes were persona non grata on my plate. Though I recognized that the “I’m-A-Fruit-Masquerading-As-A-Vegetable” meant well, I couldn’t understand why tomatoes insisted on encasing their precious seeds in something the consistency of snot. Oranges were also out of the question. If we were meant to eat them, why would the powers that be weave all that stringy, pulpy crap throughout an orange’s flesh? Bananas? Fuggetaboutit! After three bites, the funniest of fruits becomes slimy on the inside, almost as if a tomato had dropped by for an evening of inter-genus plant sex and didn’t bother to clean up the wet spot post-coitus.

Despite the lure of a red-lipped, ginger psycho clown, I may have been the only kid in America who didn’t want to devour a McDonalds’ hamburger – or any burger, for that matter. Ground meat could contain, well, anything. Animal bone. Truck parts. Factory workers’ fingers. Bits of curling, ginger, evil clown hair. My fears were confirmed when my parents forced me to eat a homemade hamburger and, with my very first mouthful, I bit down on a piece of dreaded gristle. Okay, no one ever called it the dreaded gristle but me. Still, when your mother tells you to spit it out and continue eating, you realize that the gristle shouldn’t have been there, much like Michele Bachmann at Drag Queen Bingo. It didn’t help that no one would explain to me exactly what gristle was, how it ended up in my burger, or what would happen to me if I accidentally swallowed a piece of it. All I knew was that it sounded a lot like grisly - as in grisly murder.

I'll Show You Grisley, Junior Miss Snarky Pants!

I’ll Show You Grisly, Junior Miss Snarky Pants!

On the rare occasion in which I did chow down on a slab o’ meat, it had to be completely exorcised of the sinister fat that wound its way around and throughout the cooked piece of carcass. Fat was disgusting. Like gum, it could be chewed and chewed, but unlike gum, it didn’t taste like fruit, nor could it be blown into pink bubbles. It did introduce me to my overactive gag reflex which is called into action anytime my mouth comes into contact with something that doesn’t belong in it. Okay, maybe not everything. Nonetheless, every round of Junior Miss Snarky Pants vs. Fatty Porkchop ended the same way: with little balls of masticated pig flesh hidden in my napkin or beneath the rim of my dinner plate.

Bad Form

Cat Chow Mein?

Perhaps the most baffling part of my childhood was spent trying to figure out (1) why people ate fruits and berries that were covered in hair or fuzz; and (2) why people would bother eating foods that required one to spit a portion of that food back out again. With regard to the first, I couldn’t and still can’t comprehend why a human being would deliberately ingest hair. Is it not generally considered bad form to lick one’s cat or dog in order to groom them? If so, then why would a person consume a peach? Or a strawberry? Any fruit that wants to be eaten should have the decency to shave first.

Likewise, it was puzzling to be told by my mother that when eating watermelon, I should spit out the seeds. Although I didn’t harbor the fear that a watermelon would grow in my stomach if I swallowed one of its teardrop-shaped seeds, I was offended by the watermelon’s audacity to have so many seeds, not to mention the fact that it allowed them to spread throughout its flesh like those obnoxious people in the airport terminal who plop all of their carry-on luggage on the empty chairs so that no one else can sit down. Watermelon is a fruit that has no respect for the people who eat it, unlike, say, the apple – who keeps its seeds under control, confined to its core. An apple begs – no, pleads – to be eaten; small and encased in a protective, but edible, skin, it promises to be fast about it and not waste your time. Watermelons are so laissex-fucking-faire about the whole thing. Come eat me, the watermelon purrs, but don’t make any plans because you’re going to need a chainsaw in order to open me up and then it’ll take all afternoon for you to sort through my flesh with your tongue, reserve the seeds in the side of your cheek and then spit them out before starting all over again. This is why watermelons are only eaten at picnics on lazy Sundays and not during your half hour lunch break at work. Sorry, Kitchen Slattern, watermelon vodka shots don’t count. If they did, I’d reach the suggested daily allowance of fruit by 10:30 a.m. each morning.

Vodka Is Not A Food Group; It's A Lifestyle

Vodka Is Not A Food Group; It’s A Lifestyle!

So why the diatribe about my awkward relationship with food, which, by the way, was accurately diagnosed as texture issues by someone with no medical or psychological background whatsoever? Because although I wasn’t a fan of certain foods as a young child, it didn’t prevent me from correctly identifying a vast array of veggies, fruits and berries – even if I didn’t like them. Today’s kids – and teenagers, for that matter – don’t know the first thing about fresh produce. Now before you begin typing out an indignant comment in which you paint your particular child as a lover of all fruits and vegetables, one who personally tends to her own organic garden and orchard which she fertilizes with homemade compost, take a moment to watch celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, as he asks a classroom of first graders to identify some common fruits and vegetables:

My only consolation is that the child pronounced potato as po-tay-toe instead of po-tah-toe, like some Downton Abbey lord of the manor. That and the knowledge that if the little moppet had been sired by a migrant farm worker, he would’ve known the difference. You may be thinking to yourself, “These children are merely six years old.” Yeah, well those six year olds know how to write binary code, count to 1,000 in Mandarin and recite the entirety of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows verbatim. The reason they can’t tell the difference between a potato and tomato is because everything they eat comes out of a can or a box. How would a non-breeder like myself know this? Because these processed food-eating garbage disposals kids eventually grow into the teenagers who work as cashiers at my local Super Wal-Mart – the same cashiers who inevitably hold up the line for twenty minutes as they scan page after page of laminated, illustrated produce printouts because they’ve never seen a butternut squash in their entire lives. Or an avocado. Or spinach. Or a tomato – or was that a potato?

Despite my attempts to assist the cashier by saying, “Erm, that’s a butternut squash,” the confused teenager will call for manager assistance – probably because customer-perpetrated produce fraud is sooooooo rampant these days – and then me, the cashier and the twelve shoppers in line behind me will all wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually, the overworked Wal-Mart manager will arrive and declare the foreign substance in the cashier’s hands to be a butternut squash.  Before I can say, “Hah! Don’t tell me that I don’t know my gourds,” the manager has raced off to another checkout stand to announce that baby carrots are coming through (no, they don’t wear diapers), and to a third aisle to identify a bell pepper that had the nerve to be both red and green at the same time. In the end, it doesn’t matter because the manager will have to revisit my aisle multiple times because the cashier has confused red cabbage with iceberg lettuce, and doesn’t know the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber. Which means Hubby’s ice cream has melted and my almond milk is warm. Grrrrrr.

Mmmmm! 'Sketti!

Honey Boo Boo Eating Her ‘Sketti! Zimmern Would Rather Eat Live Worms Drenched In Fresh Pig’s Blood.

Of course, the larger issue is that if a teenager old enough to work at Wal-Mart can’t identify most vegetables and fruits just by looking at them, he or she probably isn’t going to buy those fruit and vegetables for the children that he or she will one day spawn. Within two generations, we’ll be surrounded by millions of Honey Boo Boos, who eat nothing but roadkill, ‘sketti and cheese balls. For those of you who have wisely resisted the urge to tune in to watch Honey Boo Boo and her talking belly, ‘sketti is spaghetti noodles served with a sauce made from ketchup and margarine. I’m pretty sure that Bizarre Food’s Andrew Zimmern, who, incidentally, follows Miss Snarky Pants on Twitter (I know…OMG!), just threw up in his mouth.

Much in the same way that we describe alcohol as being distilled multiple times, the fruits and vegetables of the future will be processed again and again until they no longer resemble their original selves. The only way we’ll be able to distinguish pureed carrots from pureed sweet potatoes will be by reading the printing on the frozen, cardboard box they come in – because, Lord knows, our kids won’t be able to tell by looking at the photo. If we don’t make changes now, our fresh produce will be molded and shaped by technology, becoming –  in the process of being, erm, processed – as unrecognizable as that chick from “Dirty Dancing.” What was her name again? Jennifer Grape?

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What foods did you hate when you were a child? Do you eat any of them now?

Miss Snarky Pants:

The recently Freshly Pressed (yes, for the SECOND time) Kitchen Slattern kindly interviewed me for her new blog feature: The Slattern’s Mind Probe. As usual, I had to crawl out of the gutter to answer her insightful questions. Okay, I didn’t manage to make it entirely out of the gutter. Anyway, enjoy and show my dear blogging buddy, The Kitchen Slattern, some blog lovin’ when you’re done.

Originally posted on Kitchen Slattern:

Image via curiousscience.com

There’s nothing like a good secret police interrogation. Or is there? Now, you’ve no doubt perused Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire, and have probably enjoyed Heidi Ellis’s The Early Bird Catches the SPaM feature. In truth, there isn’t anything new about the interview-as-blog-post format, but what the hey, I’m going to do it anyway. So even if The Slattern’s Mind Probe is not entirely innovative as a concept, what it lacks in originality, it will certainly more than make up for in quality by giving you the chance to peek inside some of the most interesting and funny brains I’ve had the pleasure to encounter since first sending up this little emotional distress signal one year ago. 

My first guest is the fabulous Cristy Carrington Lewis, aka Miss Snarky Pants, my oldest blogging buddy and soulmate in snark. The Alt Mrs. Sedaris is a recovering lawyer…

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Is That The Bog Of Eternal Stench Or Your Face?

Some Poor Boob With A Zit On Her Chin Posing As Miss Snarky Pants With A Blemish

The other night, a small, erm, blemish appeared on my chin. Miss Snarky Pants does not get (shiver) pimples, but sometimes she talks about herself in third person, which is equally creepy. Fortunately, all superhero bloggers have their gear – and so do I. Just as Wonder Woman used her golden lasso to extract the truth from the lying liars of the world, I have my tube of Lumene Deep-Cleansing Peat Mask to extract impurities from the bastard blemishes that dare mar my facial perfection.

The Tolland Man – Someone Took The Old Adage, “Live Fast, Die Young, And Leave A Good Looking Corpse” A Tad Too Seriously.

For those of you who don’t live next to a bog somewhere in Ireland, peat is a basically decomposing vegetation that, when dry, can be burned as a fossil fuel. It’s also a natural preservative…if you’re a corpse. In fact, over sixty years ago, two Scandinavian men were harvesting peat near their home in Denmark and discovered a male cadaver, buried in the muck, that was so perfectly intact, the men initially believed that it was the body of someone who had recently been murdered. Scientists later determined that the Tolland Man, as the poor stiff was eventually named, was nearly two thousand years old. And damn, if he didn’t look good for his age.

The use of moor mud to beautify the skin has been well-documented over the centuries – by whom, I’ve no idea. This is a blog, people, not a Wikipedia entry. Legendary beauties like Cleopatra and…erm, I’m sure a lot of other reasonably attractive people have happily coated their cheeks with mire muck because of its mild antibiotic properties which help evict the free radicals that have staged a coup deep within in their pores. I’m not sure what free radicals are or who emancipated them, but I’m pretty certain that I don’t want them having an oozy, goozy shindig on my chin – particularly since they didn’t even bother to bring their hostess a bottle of wine. Who shows up to a pore party empty-handed?

So, naturally, I  smear this mire mud all over my face because:

1) Tolland Man looks amazeballs – like he’s just taking a little nap after having spent the afternoon mudding with Honey Boo Boo and her kin folk. Since I’m losing weight, I can’t rely on fat molecules to continue to plump up my wrinkles – and I suspect swimming in formaldehyde could be dangerous;

2) I clearly don’t want to get laid for the next few hours (I’d have to don a bikini, hire a similarly-attired call girl, fill a child’s inflatable pool with gallons of bog poo, then wrestle said call girl in my pop-up swamp in order to merely distract Hubby from killing zombies on his PS3);

This Might Get Hubby’s Attention

3) Lumene’s advertising claims that their peat mask contains aromatic rosemary that both opens the pores and provides “a refreshing fragrance.” Erm, if by refreshing fragrance you mean the putrid odor of rosemary rotting in The Bog of Eternal Stench, then, sure, I guess that’s the case. However, when you’re a blogger who spends most of her day in her pajamas and only bathes on the morning of her annual gynecological exam, you tend not to be bothered by a stench that would normally cause flocks of empty-bellied buzzards to nest on the roof of your home;

“I’m Telling Ya, Clyde. Something’s Rottin’ Away In This Here Apartment Building. Can’t You Smell It?”

4) It seems like a girlie thing to do – and any act I can engage in that causes Hubby to remember that I am a female and not just some stanky person pattering around his apartment wearing sweatpants and gimongous concert t-shirts whilst concocting vegan-lite fare and tapping away at a keyboard is a good thing; and

5) Who doesn’t want to douse their face in something that’s more flammable than Richard Pryor? Those of you who got that joke, please slap two pair of Depends together so that I know you’re out there.

After applying my peat mask, I entered the bedroom to find Hubby tucked beneath the sheets with the remote control in hand, waiting for me to join him so that we could watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on the telly. Reeking of marsh poo, I pulled back the quilt and hopped into bed.

As Hubby caught sight of my peat-caked skin, he snickered and asked, “Are you seriously going to watch a movie about Abe Lincoln while wearing black face?”

If Anyone Calls Me Al Jolsen Or Hums “Mammy,” I Will Dump Their Body Into An Irish Peat Bog And My Ancestors Will Smear Them All Over Their Faces A Few Thousand Years From Now

Oops. Erm. “Yes?”

Note: I did not get laid that night and I still have a fucking ZIT on my chin. However, the vultures have moved on to a spa down the street.

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Photo credits: 
Big Ass Zit: Acnetreatmentreport.com
Tolland Man: Mesh5.com
Mud Wrestling: Cineplex.com
Buzzards: Uglyhedgehog.com
Miss Snarky Pants in Black Face: Miss Snarky Pants
 

The Church Of Vegan-Lite

Was Your Communion Wine Clarified With Fish Bladders?

If being a vegan is akin to belonging to a particular religion, then I must be Catholic-Lite Episcopalian. What? you say. Vegans are nothing like Episcopalians; they’re militant, strict, judgmental – and they’re anxious to convert carnivores. Rather, vegans are the epitome of dogmatic zealots, much like the speaking-in-tongues, snake-handling, Born Again, fire and brimstone Charismatics that pepper the deep hollers of Appalachia and star in the Super Congregations we see on Sunday morning television. And you, Miss Snarky Pants, are nothing like that.

And you would be right about one thing; I am nothing like that. Although I grew up neck deep in a Pentecostal Christian guilt so mucky I was sucked beneath its surface every time I so much as played a Hall & Oates album, I am no longer that person. To be clear, though I once believed that only the metaphorical blood and body of Jesus – aptly played during Holy Communion by Welch’s grape juice and a stale water cracker, respectively – could save my soul, deep down a part of me was always asking pesky questions:

But there’s, like, hundreds or thousands of religions. How do we know that we’re right? What if the Jews nailed it from the beginning –  they’re awfully good with money and just look what they’ve accomplished in the film industry?

Even The Kabbalah Couldn’t Help Madge’s Film Career

What kind of God would send innocent people to Hell just because they live in a third world country and have never heard of  The Bible? Is it because they have rickets?

Why would God want elderly people living on Social Security to tithe 10% of their income when they can’t afford their diabetes medication? Is God punishing them for Supersizing one time too many?

Why does God only heal people who attend church on television? And why don’t they have diseases or injuries that we can see? You know, like leprosy or missing limbs?

Thanks A Lot, Guys! You Made Following Anyone Else Impossible For Me. Oh, Could You Heal Stephen Hawking? I’d Reconsider My Agnosticism If You Pulled That Off.

Despite my early indoctrination into the Assemblies of God faith, I’ve never been much of a follower in other areas of my life. I mean, once you’ve committed yourself to serving an invisible, holey (pun most definitely intended) half-man half-diety, his oft angry dad with a penchant for dishing out natural disasters, and some sort of third-wheel ghostie, becoming a member of the drill team is a bit anticlimatic.

As it turns out, my prospects as a leader were nil. I didn’t like leaders; they were typically mean girls who were good at kickball and quick with insulting and alliterative nicknames for their victims. Though I’m sure I could have become skilled at the latter, my legs were created to bang into stationary furniture with sharp edges. Kicking a rolling ball in a particular direction was beyond my capabilities, prompting me to ask more of my pesky questions:

Why does God want me to be picked last for kickball every single day of my life? Why did He make me so smart that the other kids hate me for setting the bell curve? Why can’t I grow breasts? Does God hate me, too? 

Kickball – I Guarantee You That The Best Players On The Team Are Also Mean Girls

As I aged, my disinterest in either leading or following left me in a precarious social position. Though I was no longer unpopular, I refused to fully commit to any particular clique. One day I’d eat lunch with my Smiths and Psychedelic Furs-loving friends and the next, I’d hunker down with my buddies-of-color so that we could argue about which one of us was going to be Michael Jackson’s first ex-wife. Then there were my Journey-loving compatriots; I’ll spare you the painful images of these mullet-sporting, muscle shirt-wearing, air guitar-playing fans, all of whom wore gold eighth notes around their necks in honor of their leader, Steve Perry. Athletics were out of the question. I declined my invitation to join The National Honor Society. Drama only held my interest if I had a lead role which was, erm, never.

After law school, I experimented with multiple careers, but none – including legal practice – satisfied me in the way writing does, though all paid considerably more. I know…poor, little lawyer girl. I’d hate myself, too, but then, I’ve seen my law school debt – and you haven’t.

For Years, I Worshiped At This Altar. Sigh.

If I was a devotee of anything at all, it was cow teets. I loved dairy. Cheese was something that I could commit to – after all, it could be sweet, sour, stinky, melty, salty, chewy, stringy, sharp, mild, nutty and creamy. It was as diverse as my interests and never expected me to tithe. Until I was introduced to the chocolate martini in my mid-thirties, milk held the title as my favorite beverage. Sexy, huh? Nothing says “fuck me” like your date ordering a glass of moo juice with her filet mignon.

So when I suddenly decided to abandon the greatest love of my entire life second greatest love of my entire life (because, of course, Hubby is the first) to join the Church of Vegan, I can assure you that more than a few of my friends and family members were perplexed. After all, these are people who had, over the years, become accustomed to asking me, “What is it you do, again?” Hell, if I couldn’t dedicate myself to one career path, why should they believe that I would deliberately eschew meat and all animal products for the rest of my life just because it’s supposed to be healthier? That never stopped me from mainlining vodka.

However, as the weeks turned into months, it appeared that I had finally made a true commitment. I started cooking, posting photos of one vegan meal after another on Facebook like those people who have absolutely nothing better to do with their time. Hubby and I joined a gym. I gave up hard liquor. I became the poster child for the kind of person who had embraced a plant-based diet; a kinder, gentler Miss Snarky Pants. Through the Internet, I met other local vegans and soon I was inundated with invitations to attend one non-carnivore event after another. Vegans adore newbies. And like Pentecostals, they love to recruit. Why else would they have some kind of vegan/animal rights festival every bloody weekend?

Being vegan made me feel accepted by a closely-knit group of people who looked at the world with the same pair of eyes. Despite the fact that Hubby and I had only moved to Tampa a few months before my big conversion, new friends were practically crawling out of the woodwork, ready to hang out just because I’d abandoned many of my beloved food choices. At restaurants, I no longer had to worry that the waiter would think I was cheap if I ordered a vegetarian entrée. Nope, all I had to do was explain, “I’m vegan” and every bit of judgment on the server’s face would vanish – only to be replaced with fear. At Whole Foods, it was as if I was wearing a flashing, neon sign around my neck. As the cashier rang up my items, she would invariably ask, “Are you vegan?” Before I could do more than nod, she’d burst out into a huge smile, then whisper loudly, “Me, too! Isn’t Daiya soy-free, vegan cheese the best?”

If by best, you mean barely edible and tastes nothing at all like cheese, then yes, it’s the best!

Daiya Cheese – Yes, It Melts. So Does Plastic. Big Fucking Deal.

Gradually, I discovered that worshiping at the Church of Vegan was complicated. Initially, I thought I was giving up dairy, meat and eggs, but there’s a whole lot of small print in the Vegan Bible. Did you know that gelatin is made of horses’ hooves and other disgusting stuff? Adios, Jell-O. Sayonara, marshmallows. See ya later, candy corn and jelly beans. Don’t even think about taking that Nyquil Gel Cap. And what about animal bone char? It’s utilized to refine sugar and turn crude oil into petroleum jelly. Oh, and it’s also used in making many kinds of BEER. Did I type that loudly enough? BEER. At least six thousand newbie vegans just said, “What the fuck?”

However, as a non-beer drinker, my first what-the-fuck? moment occurred when I was informed that I could no longer eat honey. “Why?” I asked a vegan friend. “The bees are just doing their thing. Making honey is kinda like their job…and the last thing we need in this country is a higher unemployment rate.”

“The bees are enslaved,” she responded, without a hint of irony. “They’re exploited by humans.”

Suddenly, my brain was flooded with images of bees humming “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and picking cotton. I imagined them cringing in front of a white-hooded beekeeper, buzzing, “Don’t blow that smoke at me, Massa! I’ll eat mo’ nectar and vomit up mo’ honey!” It occurred to me that some vegans were more concerned about honey bees’ rights than they were about the rights of immigrant field workers – the people usually responsible for raising and harvesting the plant-based diet that sustains the vegan lifestyle.

Really, Vegans? You’re Going To Compare Honey Bees To These Guys?

Shortly after the bee incident, being vegan really hit me where it hurts the most: my liver. At a cooking party I was hosting, a guest advised me that the wine I was drinking may have been clarified with isinglass, a substance derived from fish bladders. Having given up the hard stuff, wine had become my slower, but still lovely, intoxicant. “You’ll want to go online and research the brands of wine that you enjoy. You might have to switch,” she suggested.

Seriously, God – you really hate me, right? You don’t just plant the “Become a Vegan” idea in my head, then casually – at a much later date – drop the wine bomb on me. Oh, and God, in case you’re wondering, I’m officially agnostic.

I realized that these people were serious. Veganism wasn’t a diet; it was an admirable commitment to living life in a way that doesn’t exploit animals in any manner whatsoever. Yet, as much as I respected my new friends for making this difficult, moral choice, I also recognized that I had to be true to myself…and my embossed leather Coach bags. If I didn’t opt for a more compassionate non-leather sofa, I’d soon be a hypocrite – not to mention, I’d spend every spare moment removing fur from a friggin’ cat hair magnet a cruelty-free fabric recliner. It became clear that I was not an ethical vegan, as most of my friends called themselves. I was doing this for my health – and unless the occasional teaspoon of honey was going to give me cancer or cause Bob Barker’s head to explode, I wasn’t really worried about it. Where did that leave me? Was I an unethical vegan? And, more importantly, why was I letting the word vegan define who I was and what I ate? Vegans aren’t like virgins – you can be just a little bit vegan.

If One Dog Can Shed This Much Hair, Imagine What Three Cats Can Do

Thus, in the interest of not being a vegan fraud, a hypocrite, a sober person or just plain grumpy, I’ve decided to start my own church: The Church of Vegan-Lite. With all of the health benefits, but only half the guilt and no rosary, a Vegan-Litist, as I like to think of myself, is mostly vegan, but makes exceptions here and there. For example, though I will inform food servers that I’m a vegan, I am quick to reassure them that I’m not militant about it and won’t douse them with a bucket of red paint if they suggest the steak tartare special to Hubby. Likewise, I’ve chosen to integrate certain foods back into my diet, but those foods can’t be too decadent or I’ll be required to self-flagellate like an albino monk. Thus, I’ve reintroduced egg whites to our refrigerator; after all, they’re fucking egg whites. Is there a less-offensive and healthier non-vegan food out there? Doctors practically prescribe them. Dr. Carrie Rubin, back me up here, will ya?

Is That Brie In Your Fridge? Oh, Crap! I’ll Get Out The Cat O’ Nine Tails.

I’ve also discovered that if I drink a sufficient amount of vino, I completely forget all about fish bladders and bone char. Problem solved.

The only remaining issue is my hesitancy to lead – or follow, for that matter – which is why the Church of Vegan-Lite currently has only one member. So if any of you vegans out there are just jonesin’ to spoon some honey into your mug of cruelty-free, organic green tea, go for it. I grant you permission to become the bishop of your own Vegan-Lite parish. Just promise me one thing: switch the Welch’s out for a nice cabernet sauvignon, would ya?

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If you’re an ethical vegan, please know that I respect your views (and the fact that you aren’t, apparently, tempted by cheese every moment of the day) even though I don’t necessarily agree with them fully. So don’t be a hater. I really do love you guys!

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Photo credits:
Communion: therubicon.org
Madonna: articles.dailynews.com
Holy Trinity: catholicbible101.com
Kickball: keanradio.com
Cheese: igourmet.com
Daiya Cheese: mfablog.org
Slaves: bbc.co.uk
Dog Hair: blog.sfgate.com
Albino monk: aveleyman.com