Tagged: irony

I Don’t/Couldn’t/Wouldn’t Give A S**t/Flying F**k/ Rat’s A**/Damn (PG-Rated Version)

This Poo-Throwing Chimp Definitely Gives A S**t!

If you’d like to read the R-rated version of this post (the one without all the f**cking asterisks), click here.

As a person who studied literature and writing, I’m troubled by our rampant and incorrect usage of profanity. To be clear, I don’t give a s**t if people cuss, but it’s critical to the further development of civilization that we know what we mean when we say, “I don’t give a s**t.”

Americans are quick to let others know when they don’t care about something or someone. Many a comedian has joked about the fact that we often say, “I could care less” (which isn’t saying much as we typically can care less about most things), when we really mean, “couldn’t care less.”  For example, I couldn’t care less if a monkey throws poo at some random kid at some random zoo somewhere – as evidenced by my use of the word “random.” I’m so uninterested that I can’t be bothered to Google an example of this occurring, even though I’m sure it has. I’m also pretty sure that the victim of the chimp s**t tossing event looked like Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  On the other hand, I could, indeed, care less about our inability to express ourselves more clearly when it comes to our interest or lack thereof about practically anything. Most irritating are the popular idioms that express apathy using the words s**ta**, f**k or damn to communicate just how much the speaker doesn’t care. Let me clear – I truly have no issues with profanity, as it’s called by many a Born Again Christian. I abhor censorship, except when it applies to Tea Party members – in which case, it should be applied liberally and to all words spoken – as everything they believe in is pretty much profane in my book.

Michele Bachmann - Stop Talking! I Know You're Just Reading The Phone Book, But It Sounds Like Non-Stop Cussing To Me (Image via Wikipedia)

ANALYSIS

I don’t give a s**t: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a s**t) An idiom often used to indicate that the speaker is apathetic about something, this expression is troublesome because it begs the question, Why would anyone give someone a piece of poo? Perhaps the speaker is referring to a specific, valuable kind of poo and, hence, he is unwilling to give any of it away. For example, panda poo is used to fertilize green tea leaves that are eventually sold for $35,000 a pound. Why is the dung of these adorable black and white critters so expensive? Apparently, the panda’s digestive system isn’t the efficient machine we may have assumed it to be and only absorbs about 30% of the nutrients consumed. As bamboo, a plant chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-carcinogenic properties, is the primary diet of the panda, it is believed that panda dung enhances the benefits of green tea leaves grown in it.

Other examples of pricy s**t include the poo of the Asian Palm Civet, a cat-like animal that eats coffee berries for their fleshy pulp, then defecates the actual bean that is used to brew Kopi Luwak coffee – which sells for up to $600 a pound. Even your run-of-the-mill cow manure goes for about ten bucks for four pounds – less expensive than coffee, but more costly than sugar. Then, of course, there’s human poo – and you can’t give that s**t away. You really can’t. It’s illegal. Thus, in order to communicate effectively, the speaker should be extremely specific about the s**t he is referring to when he says, I don’t give a s**t. If he really, truly doesn’t care at all about the subject or person and is unwilling to give them anything at all, he could say, I don’t give a panda s**t, and if he cares just a tad more than that, I don’t give a civet s**t. If he’s on the fence, he could say, I don’t give four pounds of fertilizer grade s**t. While I don’t give a human s**t would actually mean the speaker is quite interested, but doesn’t want to admit it.

Asian Palm Civet - C'mon, You Know You Want My S**t! (Image via Wikipedia)

1)      I couldn’t give a s**t: An alternate to I don’t give a s**t, this expression implies that the speaker can’t afford to care. Perhaps he’d really like to, but he has no panda poo or civet dung to offer. Likely constipated, this person can’t even eek out a chocolate channel chewie of his own. Studies indicate that one utilizing this expression is worse off than a person who doesn’t have a pot to piss in, as the latter can still urinate, even though he doesn’t possess a container in which to store his tinkle.

2)      I don’t give a flying f**k: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a flying f**k) Implicit in this idiom is that fact that the speaker is unwilling to relinquish a flying f**k – that’s just how uninterested he is. Prostitution is often referred to as the “oldest profession,” demonstrating that some form of value – whether it be monetary or in goods and/or services – has long been attributed to f**king. Wired Magazine looked into the sex trade in early 2011 and determined that your typical streetwalker earns $75 a transaction, while escorts garner twice as much for their services. Upscale escort agencies may charge a john upwards of $4,000 – half of which will go to the call girl. Unfortunately, the cost of a flying f**k was not addressed; however, I’ve crunched the numbers myself and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Tandem Skydiving or Flying F**k? (Image via Wikipedia)

A tandem skydiving experience runs approximately $300, so if you were able to locate a tandem instructor who was also a prostitute, I’d estimate the entire flying f**k would run you approximately $3300 unless an agency was involved, in which case, the price would likely double. Even though the average call girl charges only $2000, a flying f**k is decidedly kinky – and extra pervy sex always costs more. Plus, I factored in additional monies for the sheer danger involved and the fact that your prostitute would have had to become certified in skydiving. Of course, she’s going to pass that expense on to you. And it’s not like skydiving hookers are hanging out on every corner, cooing to johns, “Hey Baby, wanna flying f**k?” Now if you’re sentimental and would prefer that your flying f**k experience involve someone you actually love or care about, both of you would need to become certified skydivers  – at a cost of $1500 to $2000 each, not including gear rental and jump costs. In the end, you’re looking at paying close to five grand to experience a flying f**k with your significant other. If heights make you, erm, nervously flaccid, add in another $50 for a doctor’s visit and a Viagra prescription. It appears that the meaning of I don’t give a flying f**k makes perfect sense as flying f**ks are innately valuable – and really shouldn’t just be given out willy nilly.

On the other hand, if your definition of a flying f**k involves two half-dressed people in a cramped bathroom on a plane at 35,000 feet, it may not be all that expensive. Jet Blue regularly offers $57 dollar one-way trips to places you’d rarely want to go, but if you’re antsy for a flying f**k, shelling out a few hundred bucks for you and your partner to board a plane headed for Omaha may just be the ticket. Then again, if you’re a celebrity or just incredibly good looking, you could cut the expense in half by seducing a flight attendant – but there’s plenty of risk involved there. You might get the fugly B crew or a bunch of virginal Bible Thumpers on any given trip – and jacking off by yourself in a bathroom the size of a closet isn’t the same as doing the nasty with a 21 year old, former-beauty-pageant-contestant-turned-flight-attendant-named-Bambi. If joining the Mile High Club was that easy, there’d be an International Mile High organization, conferences, lapel pins and a New York Times Bestselling How-to Book.

Okay. Apparently, There Is A Book (Image via dfarley.com)

3)      I couldn’t give a flying f**k: Again, this expression suggests that the speaker either can’t afford to give a flying f**k (particularly the pricier skydiving flying f**k), is unwilling to attempt a flying f**k by jumping out of the penthouse of a large skyscraper as it would most likely end in certain death as opposed to orgasm, or is simply afraid of heights.

4)      I don’t take no s**t: This is the idiom of an extremely proud person – someone unwilling to accept handouts of s**t from anyone, whether it be panda, civet or human in nature. If this person wants s**t, he’ll make it himself. If this means binging on an entire pot of chili, half a dozen bags of Lay’s and entire chocolate cake in one evening, that’s alright. He wants no charity, even if the only s**t he can produce is his own and utterly worthless. Unable to be bribed with the promises of the riches that come with possessing Panda dung, it is unlikely that this person is employed as a politician, local government employee or within the legal profession.

Rick Santorum - Got Panda S**t? I'll Take It! (Image via Wikipedia)

5)      I don’t give two s**ts and a flying f**k: Avoid this person at all cost. They are not interested in anything you have to say and will never share their s**t with you. And you’re certainly unlikely to convince them to give a flying f**k.

6)      I don’t give a rat’s a**: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a rat’s a**) Again, we are faced with an expression that challenges us to determine the value of something – in this case,  a rat’s a** – and ascertain why so many people are unwilling to give their rats’ a**es away. Despite extensive research on my part, I was unable to find a value assigned to a rat’s bunghole, nor did I find a market for real rat tails, as opposed to the decorative ribbon of the same name. On the whole, however, there’s definitely a demand for rats worldwide for use as food, pets and laboratory test subjects.

Rat Meat - All The Rage In Cambodia (Image via Reuters)

In fact, in 2008 Reuters reported that the demand for rodent meat in Cambodia resulted in a fourfold price increase to 5,000 riel ($1.28) for a little over two pounds of meat up from 1,200 riel in 2007. Though this price may seem inexpensive to those us paying up to $6/lb for raw chicken breasts, escalating rat meat prices meant that many poor Cambodians were unable to enjoy the “spicy field rat dishes with garlic” that are apparently quite popular in Mainland and Maritime Southeast Asia. Likewise, in West and Southern Africa, the Greater Cane Rat is considered a  pricy delicacy, superior to rabbit meat, that is served in restaurants and raised as micro livestock by locals. Unfortunately, despite exhaustive research, it is unclear as to whether or not the rat’s a** is discarded or eaten. Assuming that it is consumed,  a person hailing from Ghana or Nigeria who says, I wouldn’t give a rat’s a** may have stated such because it would be akin to asking Anthony Bourdain to part with an ounce of beluga cavier or black Périgord truffles. Not gonna happen.

If a young child announces that he don’t give a rat’s a**, then we might assume he has a filthy mouth and needs a sound beating that it’s because kids like rodents and think they make wonderful pets. After all, he’s probably never heard of the Bubonic Plague or read the article about rats chewing off the upper lip of a four week old infant while she slept in her crib in Kansas City. One day, rats will be just one of the many phobias for which he has to take medication to control, but today that boy is just a child who wants a furry white critter to call Whiskers and one more way in which to torture his younger sister.

Pets possess an intrinsic value for the people who love them, regardless of whether or not that translates into dollars and cents. And though the typical fancy rat costs less than $15 – even from a reputable breeder – many rat owners willingly pay thousands of bucks a year to feed, cage and medically care for their “ratties,” as they are called. As a previous pet rat owner, I can testify to the fact that rat fanciers – particularly in adult form – are amongst the most zealous of animal owners. Because their pets-of-choice are often derided as disease-spreading, cheese-stealing, beady-eyed, fanged monsters responsible for everything from famine to making New York City’s sewers uninhabitable, you’d be hard pressed to find a rattie lover who’d give up any rat’s a** in their possession.

Even At The Karni Mata Temple, Brown A**es Are Worth Less Than White Ones (Image via lovethosepics.com)

Likewise, Hindu worshippers of the Indian mystic , Karni Mata, treat the of rats who inhabit the temple that bears her name like royalty, offering them prasads, a candy-like food, in the hopes of sighting one of the rare white rats that live alongside over 20,000 brown rodents. It is believed that the darker rats are the reincarnated souls of Karni Mata’s tribespeople, while the albinos are either Karni Mata herself or her immediate family. As such, it’s unlikely that any Hindu who makes the pilgrimage to the Karni Mata Temple would ever consider offering a rat’s a** to anyone. However, in order to distinguish how emphatic they are about their unwillingness to anger Karni Mata by giving away one of her temple’s rat rumps, it would be helpful if devout Hindus would specify whether or not they don’t give a brown rat’s a** or a white rat’s a**. As is the case in America, white a**es in India are treated with more respect and assigned significantly more value than brown a**es.

Finally, we broach the issue of the laboratory rat. Millions – perhaps even billions – of rats are used to test everything from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals to insecticide. Though most people consider experimentation on animals to be an evil act, albeit a necessary one, few would consider the average lab rat to be worth much. Forget about its a**. However, further investigation reveals that these furry white critters with their Satanic, glowing red eyes have been used for decades to study human disorders of the anus – yes, a** diseases – such as rectal cancer and hemorrhoids. Thus, these rats’ a**es are worth a fortune to the real devils out there: pharmaceutical companies. So when the CEO of Pfizer says, “I don’t give a rat’s a**!” it’s because that particular rat’s a** might be worth a billion dollars in revenue. The irony is that many of us consider pharmaceutical executives to be worth far less than a common sewer rat’s keister.

My Hemorrhoids Are Killing Me! (Image via Wikipedia)

7)      I couldn’t give a rat’s a**: This idiom suggests a plethora of reasons for the inability to offer up a rat’s cornhole. Perhaps the speaker is a follower of Karni Mata and is fearful of angering the incarnation of the Indian goddess, Durga. Maybe he’s a Preparation H sales rep – and a**es, along with the rats’ a**es that help improve his product line – are his business. He could be one of the few highly-specialized veterinarians out there with a focus on rattie rectal cancer or he might be reluctant to give up his family’s dinner at the Rat A** Café in Ghana. Either way, rats’ a**es are a lot more valuable than you probably ever thought possible, so think before you offer to give one away.

8)      I don’t give a damn: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a damn) Depending on your religious affiliation, damning can be a serious business. In fact, many people believe that being damned involves some sort of eternal punishment in a broiling pit of heat and misery (a.k.a. Miami in August).  This statement suggests that the speaker can’t be bothered to damn the subject. Perhaps she believes the person is already damned and further damning on her part would be redundant (i.e. “I’d damn John Mayer to Hell, but he’s such douchebag, Satan’s already got a lava-lined armchair just waiting for him”) or she’s concerned about karma and is simply content to hold her tongue. Perhaps the best example of someone really meaning it when they said, I don’t give a damn, is Rhett Butler’s final words to a whiny and pathetic Bella Swan from Twilight Scarlett O’Hara in the film, Gone with the Wind. By walking off into the fog after replying to Scarlett’s whimpering question about what she should do and where should she go with the classic parting retort, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Rhett Butler left with viewers with little doubt about the fact that he didn’t care if Scarlett rotted in Hell, or in her delusional world in which she returns to Tara and dreams of Rhett coming back to her – and giving a damn.

Scarlett O'Hara - Rhett Doesn't Give A S**t If You Rot In Hell Or Not (Image via Wikipedia)

9)      I couldn’t give a damn: Widely utilized by those who are unable to damn someone because they are atheists, agnostics or just pussies.

Stay tuned for Part Two of I Don’t/Wouldn’t/Couldn’t Give A S**t/Flying F**k/Rat’s A**/Damn – which will likely be called something else entirely and will likely be posted next week, unless I decide that I don’t give a s**t/flying f**k/rat’s a**/damn, in which case it’ll be posted whenever I feel like it.

If you decided to read this with all the asterisks and you’d still like to read this post or share it without them, the R-rated version is available right here or you can just scroll down a little and you’ll come right to it.

I Don’t/Wouldn’t/Couldn’t Give A Shit/Flying Fuck/Rat’s Ass/Damn

This Poo-Throwing Chimp Definitely Gives A Shit!

As a person who studied literature and writing, I’m troubled by our rampant and incorrect usage of profanity. To be clear, I don’t give a shit if people cuss, but it’s critical to the further development of civilization that we know what we mean when we say, “I don’t give a shit.”

Americans are quick to let others know when they don’t care about something or someone. Many a comedian has joked about the fact that we often say, “I could care less” (which isn’t saying much as we typically can care less about most things), when we really mean,I couldn’t care less.”  For example, I couldn’t care less if a monkey throws poo at some random kid at some random zoo somewhere – as evidenced by my use of the word “random.” I’m so uninterested that I can’t be bothered to Google an example of this occurring, even though I’m sure it has. I’m also pretty sure that the victim of the chimp shit tossing event looked like Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  On the other hand, I could, indeed, care less about our inability to express ourselves more clearly when it comes to our interest or lack thereof about practically anything. Most irritating are the popular idioms that express apathy using the words shit, ass, fuck or damn to communicate just how much the speaker doesn’t care. Let me be clear – I have no issues with profanity, as it’s called by many a Born Again Christian. I abhor censorship, except when it applies to Tea Party members – in which case, it should be applied liberally and to all words spoken – as everything they believe in is pretty much profane in my book.

Michele Bachmann – Stop Talking! I Know You’re Just Reading The Phone Book, But It Sounds Like Non-Stop Cussing To Me (Image via Wikipedia)

ANALYSIS

I don’t give a shit: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a shit) An idiom often used to indicate that the speaker is apathetic about something, this expression is troublesome because it begs the question, Why would anyone give someone a piece of poo? Perhaps the speaker is referring to a specific, valuable kind of poo and, hence, he is unwilling to give any of it away. For example, panda poo is used to fertilize green tea leaves that are eventually sold for $35,000 a pound. Why is the dung of these adorable black and white critters so expensive? Apparently, the panda’s digestive system isn’t the efficient machine we may have assumed it to be and only absorbs about 30% of the nutrients consumed. As bamboo, a plant chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-carcinogenic properties, is the primary diet of the panda, it is believed that panda dung enhances the benefits of green tea leaves grown in it.

Other examples of pricy shit include the poo of the Asian Palm Civet, a cat-like animal that eats coffee berries for their fleshy pulp, then defecates the actual bean that is used to brew Kopi Luwak coffee – which sells for up to $600 a pound. Even your run-of-the-mill cow manure goes for about ten bucks for four pounds – less expensive than coffee, but more costly than sugar. Then, of course, there’s human poo – and you can’t give that shit away. You really can’t. It’s illegal. Thus, in order to communicate effectively, the speaker should be extremely specific about the shit he is referring to when he says, I don’t give a shit. If he really, truly doesn’t care at all about the subject or person and is unwilling to give them anything at all, he could say, I don’t give a panda shit, and if he cares just a tad more than that, I don’t give a civet shit. If he’s on the fence, he could say, I don’t give four pounds of fertilizer grade shit. While I don’t give a human shit would actually mean the speaker is quite interested, but doesn’t want to admit it.

Asian Palm Civet – C’mon, You Know You Want My Shit! (Image via Wikipedia)

1)      I couldn’t give a shit: An alternate to I don’t give a shit, this expression implies that the speaker can’t afford to care. Perhaps he’d really like to, but he has no panda poo or civet dung to offer. Likely constipated, this person can’t even eek out a chocolate channel chewie of his own. Studies indicate that one utilizing this expression is worse off than a person who doesn’t have a pot to piss in, as the latter can still urinate, even though he doesn’t possess a container in which to store his tinkle.

2)      I don’t give a flying fuck: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a flying fuck) Implicit in this idiom is that fact that the speaker is unwilling to relinquish a flying fuck – that’s just how uninterested he is. Prostitution is often referred to as the “oldest profession,” demonstrating that some form of value – whether it be monetary or in goods and/or services – has long been attributed to fucking. Wired Magazine looked into the sex trade in early 2011 and determined that your typical streetwalker earns $75 a transaction, while escorts garner twice as much for their services. Upscale escort agencies may charge a john upwards of $4,000 – half of which will go to the call girl. Unfortunately, the cost of a flying fuck was not addressed; however, I’ve crunched the numbers myself and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Tandem Skydiving or Flying Fuck? (Image via Wikipedia)

A tandem skydiving experience runs approximately $300, so if you were able to locate a tandem instructor who was also a prostitute, I’d estimate the entire flying fuck would run you approximately $3300 unless an agency was involved, in which case, the price would likely double. Even though the average call girl charges only $2000, a flying fuck is decidedly kinky – and extra pervy sex always costs more. Plus, I factored in additional monies for the sheer danger involved and the fact that your prostitute would have had to become certified in skydiving. Of course, she’s going to pass that expense on to you. And it’s not like skydiving hookers are hanging out on every corner, cooing to johns, “Hey Baby, wanna flying fuck?” Now if you’re sentimental and would prefer that your flying fuck experience involve someone you actually love or care about, both of you would need to become certified skydivers  – at a cost of $1500 to $2000 each, not including gear rental and jump costs. In the end, you’re looking at paying close to five grand to experience a flying fuck with your significant other. If heights make you, erm, nervously flaccid, add in another $50 for a doctor’s visit and a Viagra prescription. It appears that the meaning of I don’t give a flying fuck makes perfect sense as flying fucks are innately valuable – and really shouldn’t just be given out willy nilly.

On the other hand, if your definition of a flying fuck involves two half-dressed people in a cramped bathroom on a plane at 35,000 feet, it may not be all that expensive. Jet Blue regularly offers $57 dollar one-way trips to places you’d rarely want to go, but if you’re antsy for a flying fuck, shelling out a few hundred bucks for you and your partner to board a plane headed for Omaha may just be the ticket. Then again, if you’re a celebrity or just incredibly good looking, you could cut the expense in half by seducing a flight attendant – but there’s plenty of risk involved there. You might get the fugly B crew or a bunch of virginal Bible Thumpers on any given trip – and jacking off by yourself in a bathroom the size of a closet isn’t the same as doing the nasty with a 21 year old, former-beauty-pageant-contestant-turned-flight-attendant-named-Bambi. If joining the Mile High Club was that easy, there’d be an International Mile High organization, conferences, lapel pins and a New York Times Bestselling How-to Book.

Okay. Maybe There Is A Book (Image via dfarley.com)

3)      I couldn’t give a flying fuck: Again, this expression suggests that the speaker either can’t afford to give a flying fuck (particularly the pricier skydiving flying fuck), is unwilling to attempt a flying fuck by jumping out of the penthouse of a large skyscraper as it would most likely end in certain death as opposed to orgasm, or is simply afraid of heights.

4)      I don’t take no shit: This is the idiom of an extremely proud person – someone unwilling to accept handouts of shit from anyone, whether it be panda, civet or human in nature. If this person wants shit, he’ll make it himself. If this means binging on an entire pot of chili, half a dozen bags of Lay’s and entire chocolate cake in one evening, that’s alright. He wants no charity, even if the only shit he can produce is his own and utterly worthless. Unable to be bribed with the promises of the riches that come with possessing panda dung, it is unlikely that this person is employed as a politician, local government employee or within the legal profession.

Rick Santorum – Got Panda Shit? I’ll Take It! (Image via Wikipedia)

5)      I don’t give two shits and a flying fuck: Avoid this person at all cost. They are not interested in anything you have to say and will never share their shit with you. And you’re certainly unlikely to convince them to give a flying fuck.

6)      I don’t give a rat’s ass: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass) Again, we are faced with an expression that challenges us to determine the value of something – in this case,  a rat’s ass – and ascertain why so many people are unwilling to give their rats’ asses away. Despite extensive research on my part, I was unable to find a value assigned to a rat’s bunghole, nor did I find a market for real rat tails, as opposed to the decorative ribbon of the same name. On the whole, however, there’s definitely a demand for rats worldwide for use as food, pets and laboratory test subjects.

Rat Meat – All The Rage In Cambodia (Image via Reuters)

In fact, in 2008 Reuters reported that the demand for rodent meat in Cambodia resulted in a fourfold price increase to 5,000 riel ($1.28) for a little over two pounds of meat up from 1,200 riel in 2007. Though this price may seem inexpensive to those us paying up to $6/lb for raw chicken breasts, escalating rat meat prices meant that many poor Cambodians were unable to enjoy the “spicy field rat dishes with garlic” that are apparently quite popular in Mainland and Maritime Southeast Asia. Likewise, in West and Southern Africa, the Greater Cane Rat is considered a  pricy delicacy, superior to rabbit meat, that is served in restaurants and raised as micro livestock by locals. Unfortunately, despite exhaustive research, it is unclear as to whether or not the rat’s ass is discarded or eaten. Assuming that it is consumed,  a person hailing from Ghana or Nigeria who says, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass may have stated such because it would be akin to asking Anthony Bourdain to part with an ounce of beluga cavier or black Périgord truffles. Not gonna happen.

If a young child announces that he don’t give a rat’s ass, then we might assume he has a filthy mouth and needs a sound beating that it’s because kids like rodents and think they make wonderful pets. After all, he’s probably never heard of the Bubonic Plague or read the article about rats chewing off the upper lip of a four week old infant while she slept in her crib in Kansas City. One day, rats will be just one of the many phobias for which he has to take medication to control, but today that boy is just a child who wants a furry white critter to call Whiskers and one more way in which to torture his younger sister.

Pets possess an intrinsic value for the people who love them, regardless of whether or not that translates into dollars and cents. And though the typical fancy rat costs less than $15 – even from a reputable breeder – many rat owners willingly pay thousands of bucks a year to feed, cage and medically care for their “ratties,” as they are called. As a previous pet rat owner, I can testify to the fact that rat fanciers – particularly in adult form – are amongst the most zealous of animal owners. Because their pets-of-choice are often derided as disease-spreading, cheese-stealing, beady-eyed, fanged monsters responsible for everything from famine to making New York City’s sewers uninhabitable, you’d be hard pressed to find a rattie lover who’d give up any rat’s ass in their possession.

Even At The Karni Mata Temple, Brown Asses Are Worth Less Than White Ones (Image via lovethosepics.com)

Likewise, Hindu worshippers of the Indian mystic , Karni Mata, treat the of rats who inhabit the temple that bears her name like royalty, offering them prasads, a candy-like food, in the hopes of sighting one of the rare white rats that live alongside over 20,000 brown rodents. It is believed that the darker rats are the reincarnated souls of Karni Mata’s tribespeople, while the albinos are either Karni Mata herself or her immediate family. As such, it’s unlikely that any Hindu who makes the pilgrimage to the Karni Mata Temple would ever consider offering a rat’s ass to anyone. However, in order to distinguish how emphatic they are about their unwillingness to anger Karni Mata by giving away one of her temple’s rat rumps, it would be helpful if devout Hindus would specify whether or not they don’t give a brown rat’s ass or a white rat’s ass. As is the case in America, white asses in India are treated with more respect and assigned significantly more value than brown asses.

Finally, we broach the issue of the laboratory rat. Millions – perhaps even billions – of rats are used to test everything from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals to insecticide. Though most people consider experimentation on animals to be an evil act, albeit a necessary one, few would consider the average lab rat to be worth much. Forget about its ass. However, further investigation reveals that these furry white critters with their Satanic, glowing red eyes have been used for decades to study human disorders of the anus – yes, ass diseases – such as rectal cancer and hemorrhoids. Thus, these rats’ asses are worth a fortune to the real devils out there: pharmaceutical companies. So when the CEO of Pfizer says, “I don’t give a rat’s ass!” it’s because that particular rat’s ass might be worth a billion dollars in revenue. The irony is that many of us consider pharmaceutical executives to be worth far less than a common sewer rat’s keister.

My Hemorrhoids Are Killing Me! (Image via Wikipedia)

7)      I couldn’t give a rat’s ass: This idiom suggests a plethora of reasons for the inability to offer up a rat’s cornhole. Perhaps the speaker is a follower of Karni Mata and is fearful of angering the incarnation of the Indian goddess, Durga. Maybe he’s a Preparation H sales rep – and asses, along with the rats’ asses that help improve his product line – are his business. He could be one of the few highly-specialized veterinarians out there with a focus on rattie rectal cancer or he might be reluctant to give up his family’s dinner at the Rat Ass Café in Ghana. Either way, rats’ asses are a lot more valuable than you probably ever thought possible, so think before you offer to give one away.

8)      I don’t give a damn: (Alternative version: I wouldn’t give a damn) Depending on your religious affiliation, damning can be a serious business. In fact, many people believe that being damned involves some sort of eternal punishment in a broiling pit of heat and misery (a.k.a. Miami in August).  This statement suggests that the speaker can’t be bothered to damn the subject. Perhaps she believes the person is already damned and further damning on her part would be redundant (i.e. “I’d damn John Mayer to Hell, but he’s such douchebag, Satan’s already got a lava-lined armchair just waiting for him”) or she’s concerned about karma and is simply content to hold her tongue. Perhaps the best example of someone really meaning it when they said, I don’t give a damn, is Rhett Butler’s final words to a whiny and pathetic Bella Swan from Twilight Scarlett O’Hara in the film, Gone with the Wind. By walking off into the fog after replying to Scarlett’s whimpering question about what she should do and where should she go with the classic parting retort, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Rhett Butler left with viewers with little doubt about the fact that he didn’t care if Scarlett rotted in Hell, or in her delusional world in which she returns to Tara and dreams of Rhett coming back to her – and giving a damn.

Scarlett O’Hara – Rhett Doesn’t Give A Shit If You Rot In Hell Or Not (Image via Wikipedia)

9)      I couldn’t give a damn: Widely utilized by those who are unable to damn someone because they are atheists, agnostics or just pussies.

Stay tuned for Part Two of I Don’t/Wouldn’t/Couldn’t Give A Shit/Flying Fuck/Rat’s Ass/Damn – which will likely be called something else entirely and will likely be posted next week, unless I decide that I don’t give a shit/flying fuck/rat’s ass/damn, in which case it’ll be posted whenever I feel like it.

My First Grade Judas Kiss

"The Judas Kiss" by Gustave Dore (Image via Wikipedia)

While discussing the topic of dishonesty with a friend who chronicles the unbelievably funny and charming things her toddler, Alice, says in the course of everyday life in her brilliant and wonderfully concise blog, the book of alice, the topic of first lies (not first lays, you pervs!) arose. Of course, there are two kinds of first lies: (1) the one your mother will remember forever – since her heart shattered just a little that day upon discovering that you were well on your way to becoming a full-fledged heathen – but you won’t recall it because parents don’t typically beat you until you’re at least four or five; and (2) the one you remember – probably because you got your bottom whipped or at least got sent to the “naughty chair” for engaging in the deception.

As a person who is guilt-wracked when I commit the most minor of offenses, my first lie haunts me much in the same way that Scrooge was plagued the chain-rattling Jacob Marley. Due to a move to Miami early in my sixth year, I joined Mrs. Cupman’s first grade class about nine weeks into the semester, at which point I was introduced to the dreaded, blue plaid parochial school jumper paired with a baby blue, Peter Pan-collared blouse beneath. Stiff and most certainly interwoven with steel threads, the tartan fabric was made to withstand Florida’s hurricanes, falls from the monkey bars and daily instructions to sit in the lotus position on the school’s concrete sidewalks. It is rumored that the needle used to sew our jumpers was actually a long, sharpened diamond mined from Chuck Norris’ bone marrow, though I hear the current method of construction involves lasers and cold fusion. Regardless, I understand that my voluminously-pleated uniform came with accessory tent states and a portable Coleman grill.

X-Ray Vision Glasses - What? They Don't Really Work? (Image via tomvision.com)

Despite the relative strength of the blue tartan and the fact that it was so dense it could have been used to make black out curtains during WWII, my mother insisted that I don a silky, white half-slip trimmed in lace beneath my uniform. An avid comic book reader as a child, my mother may have been operating under the belief that the x-ray glasses advertised in the back of her cherished copies of Casper the Friendly Ghost really worked and that some pervy boy in my class possessed a pair. Though talkative, I was still a bit shy as “the new girl,” but managed to befriend another kid who resembled me in every way. Long light-brown hair with bangs. Check.  Gap in smile from missing front teeth. Check. Female. Duh. Scrawny with bony knees and a thin, pixie-like face. Check. Michelle quickly became my best friend. I believe the conversation went something like this:

Michelle: So, you’re new, huh?

Me: Yeah. And I have a puppy. Her name is Daisy. And I have a cat, too – named Pumpkin, but she doesn’t really look anything like a pumpkin. She looks like she stepped in paint. And she scratches. (Holding out my arm.) See. And my parents are divorced, but they’re getting married again. And I’m gonna be the…

Michelle: If you stop talking, I’ll be your best friend.

Me: For how long?

Michelle: I dunno. Forever.

Me: I can’t stop talking for the rest of my life. I’ll get in trouble when Mrs. Cupman calls roll and I don’t answer. And then there’s reading class…

Michelle: No, just shut up for a little while. I’ll be your best friend forever.

Me: (Lips pursed together tightly, I nod in agreement.)

With over two months of first grade under her belt, Michelle was a pro and she clued me in on all the vital information a newbie like me would need to know in order to succeed in this initial year of my education.

First rule: Never buy the school lunch. Even if the best your mom had in the fridge was a shriveled apple and a lettuce and mustard sandwich, you were to demand that she wrap it up in a paper bag and bring it to school. Unlike in kindergarten, bathroom breaks were not a right, but a strictly-scheduled privilege – and to eat the school meatloaf was to risk soiling one undies, not to mention gaining the nickname, “Poopy Pants” for the duration of the school year.

Second Rule: Do not commit any capital offenses. In first grade, capital offenses were amorphous crimes, and, at Westwood Christian School, could include:  taking the Lord’s name in vain, hitting, spitting, biting, kicking, sassing back, lying, cheating, stealing, failing to follow the line leader, calling the line leader a “passive-aggressive bitch,” and kissing. The latter was rumored to cause everything from pregnancy to hiccups that would never go away. Ever. However, my resulting avoidance of kissing had nothing to do with my prevailing fear of never-ending hiccups, but the punishment doled out by Vice Principal, Mrs. McCranie. A meaty woman with cold, squinty eyes emphasized by her metal, cat-eye glasses, I’m pretty sure her sole responsibilities at the school involved yanking students away from the water fountain by their collars if they drank too long, and wielding The Paddle. A medieval torture device carved from wood and drilled with multiple holes in order to ensure that no amount of oxygen could wend its way between it and the bared butt of a young child, The Paddle was discussed only in hushed tones. Tales of surviving Mrs. McCranie and her paddle were legendary. Those who returned to class from her Chamber of Horrors office, often became mute for months, staring vacantly at the wall with the eyes of someone who’d looked death in the face – and now wanted only to behave and graduate on to a nice office job, perhaps in accounting

"The Paddle" - A Disciplinary Tool Or Medieval Torture Device? (Image via thewilbournegroup.com)

Third Rule: Avoid the boys who practice the art of “picking and sticking” – a.k.a. the removal of one’s boogers with one’s fingers from one’s nose and then the act of sticking said boogers onto the exposed skin of the nearest female student. Without a doubt, the list of infamous “pickers and stickers” was crucial, memorized, then chewed and swallowed. Why? Because Michelle told me to and she was a Ms. Bossy Britches. Still, to this day, you’ll never catch me anywhere near John Nealy.

Despite my burgeoning friendship with Michelle, my efforts to chummy up with the rest of my classmates were largely rebuffed. The only exception was a fat boy (I really wish I could say he was just chubby or husky, but that would be a corporal offense) named Ronald who made a habit of deliberately missing his school bus once he laid his eyes on my mother. Back in the day, she was a hottie; if not a prude when it came to her daughter’s attire. Poured into a pair of skin-tight cut-offs and a tube top, Mom was a long, tall drink of Southern iced-tea in a pair of platform heels. Tanned the old-fashioned way with waist-length, Marsha Brady hair and the face of a fashion model, she was the center of attention the second she arrived in the pick-up line, driving our sparkly purple dune buggy. Ronald was a goner. Once he discovered that we lived nearby, he began missing the bus regularly and pawning rides off my mother, who allowed him – much to my dismay – to sit in the front seat, where he had an eagle eye view of her golden-brown stems. This mutual affection for my mom – though mine was based not on transportation and sheer lust, but on a desire to be fed, bathed and clothed at appropriate intervals – served as a sort of bond between Ronald and me for the next four years. And despite the fact that Ronald’s primary interest in me was as a source of information about my mother and her likes – her favorite color, her favorite number, her favorite television show – it was still interest.

Purple Dune Buggy + Tanned, Leggy Cut-off, Tube-top Wearing Super Fox = First Grade Boners (Image via wichita.olx.com)

Which brings me to the ominous day that I became a liar. The afternoon had begun inauspiciously. I’d inhaled my cheese sandwich, thrown my apple into the garbage as I always did, and relished my Tupperware bowl of chocolate pudding. After recess, Michelle and I had returned to our seats in the classroom – mine directly behind hers – and we’d begun our studies in mathematics, focusing on the whole adding and subtracting phenomena that was to eventually captivate the nation. As I stared inattentively at the alphabet chart strung above the green chalkboard, my jumper skirt inadvertently slid upwards, revealing the lacy hem of my slip. Behind me and to my right, I heard the boys, chuckling. Someone hissed, “Yeaaaay,” under his breath. Glancing around, I realized that at least six pairs of eyes were focused on my thigh and my exposed bit of nylon. Finally, a taste of what my mother experienced every day of her life – the admiration of the male species. Except, I didn’t particularly care that they were boys; I just wanted attention. Ignored for several weeks now, I craved to be the center of anything.

Realizing that it was the bright whiteness of my nylon slip against the starkness of my pristine jumper that was causing the ruckus, I casually crossed my legs and allowed my elbow to rest against the starched plaid fabric. Shifting my arm backwards a bit and sliding my jumper with it, I allowed a few more inches of my slip to glow in the flickering, overhead lighting. More snickering. More eyes – some of which now belonged to girls whose mouths dropped open in delighted, faux shock. The boys exhaled a collective sigh. Like my mother, I was incredibly naïve. Apparently, I thought my teacher was both deaf and blind – in my defense, she was pretty old – and wouldn’t notice that my skirt was slowly easing its way up towards my hipbones, at the encouragement of the entire class. Except for Michelle. Directly in front of me, she was clueless as to the shenanigans going on behind her.

“Now, who can tell me what four plus four equals?” Mrs. Cupman asked, turning her kind, lined face towards her pupils. As she scanned her students’ faces, she slowly realized that their attention was not on addition, but on subtraction – namely, the subtraction of my uniform from my sexy, lacy slip. “Cristy Carrington!” she shrieked, her face taking on the wailing, pained quality of the figure in The Scream. As her hands clutched at her cheeks, she demanded to know, “Are you showing your slip to the boys?”

Mrs. Cupman Upon Seeing My Bared Slip. Nooooooooooo! (Image via Wikipedia)

It was a question for which there was only one obvious answer. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t think. “No!” I replied. “Michelle did it.” In the split second it took for me to become a liar (No!), I also became Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss (Michelle did it.). I was Abigail Williams in The Crucible accusing Goody Osborne of witchcraft, when I was the one who had danced naked around the fire in the woods and communed with spirits. I can’t explain it. I can’t justify it. My gut reaction was to deny, deny, deny, then attribute blame. I’m willing to bet I could have been admitted to law school on this act alone. In the single moment it took to be accused of the crime, I had realized that Michelle and I resembled one another. Perhaps the near-sighted, Mrs. Cupman would believe that Michelle had committed the dreaded sin of slippery, instead of me, I’d thought. My best friend became a mere pawn in my sophisticated game of deception – one to which I might have been new, but one which I inherently understood. Michelle was my scapegoat, and to this day – I swear it happened in slow motion – as if my treason had somehow hindered Time itself. Michelle’s long hair splayed out, fan-like, as she whirled around to face me, confusion in her blue eyes. Behind her, Mrs. Cupman’s head shook back and forth slowly, as if she’d never encountered such a villainous Jezebel. And such a dumb one – considering I was the only girl in the class wearing a slip.

"Goody Osborne Associates With The Devil!" (Image via livingbehindthegates.wordpress.com)

As the realization dawned on me that my lie, coupled with my false accusation, had only worsened my situation, I dropped my eyes from Michelle’s steady, injured gaze and into my lap. I slid my plaid skirt towards my knees. My slip was no longer in sight, but Mrs. Cupman’s vision was also no longer in question. I’d been caught. And if kissing was a capital offense, certainly showing the entire class your slip – something that was, in the Seventies, considered part of your underwear – was worse. Much worse. I half-expected that the black and white linoleum flooring would open up to reveal an escalator headed only one way – down –  to Hell. The other half of me was worried that my class would suddenly erupt in a harmony of hiccups that would last much longer than my friendship with Michelle.

My Ass After Mrs. McCranie Finished With It (Image via beefretail.org)

In the end, it was my rear end that suffered the most. Pentecostals love their corporal punishment. Mrs. McCranie made short work of my poor Granny-panty clad rump. Had my parents been sufficiently angry – the note from my teacher that accompanied me home didn’t help – my butt would have been thoroughly tenderized and ready for roasting. Luckily, as I was a generally honest child, my parents’ bought my story: the slip incident was an accident. I simply hadn’t realized that my skirt was bunched up around my waist. It happens. To prostitutes. And girls on Spring Break. And as I’d never been accused of a school infraction in the past, I’d made a mistake and tried to place the blame on someone else. I regretted it. And I really did.

Though Michelle and I remained friends, it wasn’t forever and it was never quite the same. Not that it mattered. My ballsiness earned me the respect of my classmates and I enjoyed their friendship for the next four years. Yet here I am – thirty-seven years later – relating my guilt surrounding this event to a friend from the blogosphere. For me, the lie isn’t nearly as bad as the betrayal. Michelle, if you’re out there, I’m sorry. Then again, if you’d also been wearing a slip, I probably would have argued that you were the trollop of Mrs. Cupman’s first grade class until the end, challenged my teacher’s vision, and requested a change of venue based on the fact that Mrs. McCraine was biased as she had pulled me away from the water fountain only one week prior using a hank of my hair instead of my collar. Clearly, I would one day become a lawyer and, soon thereafter, would feel really guilty about it.

Salman Rushdie Will Never Write For Cosmo

I am a sucker for a bargain. Every week, I hit the BOGOs (Buy One Get One Free deals – though they really should be called BOGOFs, considering the free portion of the deal is the most important) at my local grocery store, stocking up on olive oil, tea bags, lactose-free vanilla ice cream and A1 Steak Sauce. Okay, in the latter case, it’s more like Buy Seven Get Seven Free, but let’s not squabble over details. Regardless of my penchant for a deal, I pride myself on not purchasing crap we don’t use – which is why our pantry is not stocked with forty-four cans of green beans (Good lord, they can’t give those things away. They’re on sale every single week.) and why Mrs. Paul Fish Sticks remain in the freezer section at the store.

However, there’s something about Amazon.com’s $5 magazine sale that is simply mesmerizing. I love magazines – and for a time, my addiction to periodicals was becoming something of a financial burden, but less harmful to my esophagus than my issues with A1 Steak Sauce. I’d stock up as I waited in the grocery line, carefully stacking not one, not two, not three, but four trash magazines about celebrities and their silly little lives on top of my BOGO cans of diced tomatoes. At anywhere from $2.95 to $3.99 a pop, I easily spent ten to fifteen bucks a week just so I could keep up with who Justin Bieber was dating; whether or not Kim Kardashian’s right ass cheek had suddenly deflated – as I fully expect it will one day; and what species of monkey Snooki is and how I can expedite its extinction.

In this pop culture obsessed era, I can’t possibly keep up with the times any other way since I refuse to watch most tawdry reality programming on television and I don’t own a teenager. If I’d had the sense to purchase a child at the appropriate time, I’d have a serf at my beck and call who would not only be completely prepared to report to me a summary of this week’s Gossip Girl episode and the name of Katy Perry’s latest hit song on demand, but could also explain to me the allure of Chris Brown and why Rihanna continues to associate with him. Is she coming out with a new makeup line that includes eye shadow shades called “Bruise” and “Welt”? What? Too soon?

Yeah, I Know. This Shit Ain't Funny. So Stay Away From Chris Brown. (Image via nydailynews.com)

Were I a complete simpleton, life would be much less expensive because I would stop after snapping up my regular copies of Us Weekly and Life and Style. But I’ve got to have my Vanity Fair, Wired, The Atlantic, Time, Discover and a wide variety of other periodicals that my husband and I inhale the way a college philosophy major sucks up the smoke from the mouth of a bong. Then Amazon.com came into my life – and with it, emails advertising its innocuous $5 magazine sale. For the price of five copies of People, I could enjoy an entire year of Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic, Popular Science and Woman’s Day. Twelve whole months! But I didn’t stop at four magazines, I clicked the subscribe button again and again, each time mentally figuring my savings. I could read The New Yorker for less than eleven cents per issue; I’d finally have the opportunity to bury myself in the short stories I’d always aspired to write, and read reviews about plays and concerts and gallery showings I’d never be able to attend since I live over a thousand miles away in Florida. How sophisticated I would become – something a free gallon of Breyers had never done for me. And this is where we arrive at the nexus of my problem, otherwise known as Cosmopolitan.

Cosmopolitan circa 1991 a.k.a. The Bible (Image via amazon.com)

As a twenty-something, upwardly-mobile young woman, Cosmo had been my bible, teaching me everything from how to build abs strong enough to weather a nuclear blast to how to select the perfect jeans for my arachnid-longish legs to how to perform fellatio with warm honey in my mouth without gagging. Okay, I only actually mastered the second item on that list, much to my husband’s chagrin. As I hit my mid-thirties, I discovered that there’s really only about a hundred sex tips out there and that the magazine recycles them, in the same way I pull out that dress I wore to the office Christmas party three years ago and wear it again – to this year’s party – hoping my husband’s co-workers were too drunk to remember that particular chartreuse number. I no longer care to know “What Men Really Think,” only what my husband really thinks when I ask him if I look fat in said chartreuse cocktail dress. Fully capable of achieving an orgasm, selecting a nail polish color without consulting an expert, and extremely competent at flat-ironing my own hair, Cosmo has lost its strange spiritual and maternal hold on me. Yes, I’m all grown up.

Yet, there I was, tempted by the opportunity to again peruse its glossy pages for a mere forty-two cents a month. I couldn’t buy a single can of diced tomatoes for that price. Perhaps there were new ways to remove bikini hair painlessly or a revolutionary naughty move I could try out with my hubby that didn’t involve sticky food products, electronics or furry handcuffs. I could be missing out. So unlike the fish sticks, I stuck a year’s worth of Cosmopolitan – the veritable whore of all women’s magazines – into my virtual grocery cart, paid for it with my debit card and awaited its arrival.

And so it came. Sealed in clear plastic lest the mailman drool over (or worse…ugh) the inevitable display of cleavage on the front cover – a marketing strategy that never quite made sense to me unless the publisher was secretly targeting lesbians and men – I opened it with the hope that something had changed in the decade since I’d read this particular rag religiously. But nothing had. With the sheer exception of Selena Gomez’s ample bosom gracing the cover instead of Cindy Crawford’s, not much was different – the layout, the general content, the sex tips, the platform sandals, the emaciated models – all the same. Except for one thing. The advertisements – which had gotten even worse.

Cosmopolitan - The Selena Issue (Image via huffingtonpost.com)

I know. Before you say it – how could advertisements get worse? Especially in the pages of Cosmo. Well, they can. Or, more accurately put, manufacturers seem to have given up when it comes to lower-rent magazine ads – and the products they represent. In fact, they can’t be bothered to even give the product a decent name.

Case in point: Dolce & Gabbana’s fragrance, light blue. Dominating the back cover of Cosmo in a full page, color ad – generally one of the most expensive placements a sponsor can purchase – the promotion insulted me with both the female model’s wide-angled, white bikini-clad crotch shot, and Dolce & Gabbana’s failure to even try when it came to selecting a moniker for its over-priced eau de toilette. I mean, really. Light blue? That’s the best they could come up with? Were azure, aquamarine, beryl, turquoise, teal, sea, sapphire, ice, cerulean, topaz, ocean, daffodil, pale, Prussian, smoky, baby, royal, indigo, cobalt, ultramarine, cornflower, berry, sky, periwinkle, wisteria, violet, steel, electric, powder, cyan, midnight and Persian really already taken? It’s as though D&G’s marketing department decided to pull an April Fool’s Day prank on its designers and said, “Hey, let’s tell ‘em the focus groups LOVED the name light blue!  We’ll say it test-marketed off the charts. It’ll be payback for last year’s crappy Christmas bonus. Italian bastards!”

Naming a perfume light blue is worse than just calling it blue. At least, blue is simple. In fact, it’s elegant in its purity and restraint. It’s evocative. It could be a color. It could be an emotion. It could be part of a French curse. Perhaps that’s why Chanel called one of its fragrances, Bleu de Chanel. (Don’t even try to argue with Coco or her company – even though she’s dead, her pearls and taste live on.) However, by prefacing blue with something as utterly dull as the word light, D&G effectively spit in our collective female faces, then said in a withering Italian accent, “You just weren’t worth the effort. We couldn’t be bothered to come up with something memorable or interesting or elegant, you silly readers of American slut magazines. In fact, we’re not even going to bother capitalizing the name. Vaffanculo!

Now, I wouldn’t expect Wired or National Geographic to advertise perfume, so I turned to my trusty copy of Vanity Fair, the bastion of expensive advertising. Sure enough, D&G didn’t dare run an ad for light blue in VF’s pages. Why advertise their unimaginatively-named toilet water in a magazine read by people for whom sapphire and Tiffany blue are the norm? (What? I have sapphires. They’re my birthstone.) Possessing higher expectations than the average Cosmo disciple, VF readers have paid top dollar over the years for the likes of wordsmithing by Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie, Dorothy Parker, Clare Booth Luce, Langston Hughes, A. Scott Berg, Dominick Dunne and Sebastian Junger. Somehow, I just don’t see Rushdie ever penning an column for Cosmo entitled, “Little Black Dresses That Will Garner You Death Threats” or Berg authoring an in-depth profile on Charles Lindbergh’s “Top Ten Sexual Positions Bound To Drive Your Man Airborne.” Nope. They have higher standards and – at 43 – I probably should as well.

Salman "I'd Rather Be Murdered By Radical Muslims Than Write For Cosmo" Rushdie (Image via Wikipedia)

But I was conned by the promise of a $5 bargain. Sucked into the frigid, air-conditioned pages of a glittering casino-like magazine splashed with bright, gaudy colors; tantalizing words like sex and orgasm and shoes and pedicure and handbag flashing at me like a strobe light above a one-armed bandit; and a veritable smorgasbord – an all-you-can-eat buffet, if you will – of information about understanding and pleasing the complex species known as Man, and how to look skinny, fashionable and youthful while doing it. And now, I’m paying for it. Five whole bucks – and I’m forced to look at the perfectly-waxed crotch of an anorexic, spray-tanned model wearing a white bikini (Hello! Always a mistake – I don’t care if they’re supposedly lined.) while being embraced by an equally-bronzed male model who stares at me mockingly while hocking a woman’s perfume that doesn’t have the decency to don an appropriately vivid and eloquent name in the same manner that one dons a robe before answering an early-morning knock at the door.

Before I completed my character assassination of D&G’s lame ass branding (How’s that for eloquent?), I figured I should see if any other designers, pseudo-celebrities or perfumeries put as little time and effort into naming their fragrances. Perhaps this isn’t indicative of disrespect for the Cosmo-level clientele on behalf of the perfume industry; perhaps the people who make “stink-um,” as my grandmother used to call it, are just lazy by nature. My research uncovered a vast spectrum in the fragrance-naming game, but here are a few of my favorites:

Cumming by Alan Cumming

I'm "Cumming" For You, Alan Cumming (Image via frangrantica.com)

Funeral Home by Demeter Fragrance Library

Full Choke by Francesco Smalto

Full Choke - I Can't Make This Stuff Up, Folks (Image via fragrancex.com)

Solar Donkey Power by Henrik Vibskov

McGraw Southern Blend by Tim McGraw

Of course, my taste leans towards the gutter and the latter sounds like a whiskey I’d buy if I drank whiskey. That said, even morons celebrities like Paris Hilton put more thought into their perfume branding than D&G. Though Heiress, Can Can, and Fairy Dust aren’t names that reek of elegance or imagination, at least they smell of some level of effort, however small. And how embarrassing is that? Yes, Dolce & Gabanna, Paris Hilton did a better job at something than you – and it didn’t involve wearing an uber short dress, carrying an accessory animal, being talentless, or shrieking, “So hot!” when prompted.

And with that, I am cancelling my subscription to Cosmopolitan, folks. My aging heart can’t handle the rage that burns in me when insulted by fragrance ads aimed at vapid college students who think cunnilingus is the latin word for clever. Or worse, a sexually-transmitted disease. Bargain or no bargain, I can’t afford to believe there are more sexual tricks than I already know – or am sufficiently-flexible to perform upon request. Fashion has already been restricted to black, basic black, slimming back, lacy black, sparkly black, sexy low-cut black, clingy black, black Spanx and the jeans that Cosmo taught me years ago I could wear without looking ridiculously pear-shaped. And I understand my man – at least enough to know that my roasted rosemary chicken served up with steamed asparagus makes him deliriously happy and that he really appreciates it if I put the television timer on before we fall asleep at night. He’s my real bargain – and there’s not another one like him to get for free if I tried.

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 sarasota101.com)

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 diynewlyweds.com)

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 thebiglead.com)

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 randomgoofiness.com)

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 championac.com)

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.

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 homefixated.com)

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 tasteofhome.com)

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 facebook.com)

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 fortworthphysicaltherapy.info

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 latimes.com)

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 laurelscakecottage.com)

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 whyweprotest.net)

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 cotswoldfoodyear.com)

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 forumnotebookreview.com)

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.

The World’s Worst Sonnet About A Dead Dog Ever

Poets see the world at its core, then ruin it with words.

While I was studying poetry in college, I was forced to write a sonnet. Forced, you say? Was a gun held to my head? Did a professor surreptitiously slip a pinless grenade into my palm, step back cautiously and demand, “Write the damned sonnet!” No, but my instructor did string my GPA up by the neck with a thick noose and threaten to kick the desk out from under my GPA’s feet if I didn’t write the stupid thing. Even though I write free verse. Exclusively. Rhyming is not one of my super powers. People who’ve heard me attempt to rap know this. My instructor didn’t care. You apparently can’t be a well-rounded poet unless you master the sonnet. Kinda like those chefs who think you can’t truly call yourself a cook unless you can boil water. Snobs.

For those of you who have never written a sonnet, you’re lucky bastards and I despise you. That said, hang in there with me even if you’re not a huge poetry fan because I’ll be humiliating myself in a big way in just a few paragraphs. For those of you who have written a sonnet and who have also successfully repressed “the rules” of sonnet-writing, let me re-awaken the slime-dripping, fang-baring monster that likely haunted your every dream throughout the semester you were enrolled in Poetry 101.

William Shakespeare - Sonnet Rule-Maker and General Arse

Shakespearean Sonnet Rules

For my purposes, I will be referring exclusively to the Shakespearean (or Elizabethan) Sonnet.

1)  A sonnet must consist of  exactly 14 lines.

2)  Each line must have exactly 10 syllables.

3)  A sonnet must consist of exactly three quatrains (four lines) followed by exactly one couplet (two lines).

4)  The rhyme scheme in a sonnet must be exactly as follows: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

In English, this means that in the first quatrain, the first and third lines must rhyme and the second and fourth lines must rhyme. Same goes for the second quatrain, but it’s critical to note that the rhymes must be unique from the first quatrain – C and D can’t rhyme with A or B. Same goes for E and F and G.

Note: We haven’t even made it through all the rules yet, but the word exactly has already appeared FOUR times. Starting to see why sonnets and Satan both start with the same letter?

5)  Each line must be written in iambic pentameter.

If your response wasn’t “Huh?” or “I only speak a little Spanish,” then you’ve clearly written sonnets before – and enjoyed the process. Before things get ugly, you should just muddle on over to the Mensa website because we won’t tolerate any of that Shakespearean-sonnets-are-the-bomb attitude here.

If you’re still going, “What the hell is an i-am-buck pentacle,” then you’re in the right place. First you have to know what an iambic foot is. Though it sounds like something a podiatrist would diagnose and prescribe a brace for, it simply means an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. da-DUM. Iambic pentameter consists of five iambic  feet in a row: da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM. Or for those Dirty Dancing fans out there, remember that scene where Patrick Swayze tries to teach Baby rhythm by tapping his chest in time with his heartbeat? ga-GONG-ga-GONG-ga-GONG-ga-GONG-ga-GONG. Yes, Swayze was a hunk and his heart was a master of iambic pentameter. Basically, this is just one more thing that you have to worry about when writing a la Shakespeare –  if  the correct syllables aren’t stressed in the proper order, your sonnet’s pretty much crap.

Patrick Swayze teaching Jennifer Grey how to write a Shakespearean sonnet

a.k.a. Cristy's Poem, "How Ironic" - The World's Worst Sonnet Ever

So why did you need to know all this? Why did you read this far without anything really, truly funny happening? Because I am now going to share with you the World’s Worst Sonnet Ever! It’s horrible on so many levels, but before I go into detail, I will simply allow you to read it and let it speak for itself.

By the way, it is also my sonnet. Yes, I wrote it. Twenty-two years ago. I am responsible for this flaming pile of poo. Thus, there is absolutely no need to try to console me or assure me that the poem isn’t shit in your comments below because I fully recognize that I have made the world a far worse place by writing all 26 lines of the following sonnet. What? Twenty-six lines, you say? But I thought a sonnet had 14 lines. There you go…you’re already discovering why this is:

The World’s Worst Sonnet Ever

**********

How Ironic

When I saw her, she was shrunken hollow

her body pressed to the back of the cage.

Eyes enormous, spittle wetting the hair

beneath her blond muzzle, six months of age.

Driving her home, our pygmy Lassie peed

on the plush velour seat and my bare skin.

I laughed. She shrank further inside my arms

and froze, ears perked, a doggy mannequin.

She learned to sit, roll over, beg and jump

on command. She could climb up my knees, legs,

elbows and shoulders to the top. Her paws

on my head, eyes open, ready to beg.

She never learned how to play dead until

last week. It took fifteen years to teach her,

fifteen years of loyal love and wet licks

on my hand, as I softly stroked her fur.

Every girl’s dream come true was my Daisy,

even as she aged and became a weight

upon our shoulders, a burden to scorn,

a family member we grew to hate.

Alone I cry as Mother speaks of cysts

which invaded her body like Martians,

feeding it death as they grew in numbers,

her life chained to a grave by Lilliputians.

Daisy plays dead now like an Oscar nominee

As she lies wrapped in sheets beneath our dogwood tree.

Daisy - Not Quite Dead Yet


I’ll give you a moment to recompose yourself. Take a second. Wipe the vomit off the front of your shirt. And, you, stop ROFLing all over the carpet. Nobody really ROFLs. An LOL would have been satisfactory. Have some dignity, man!

Yes, I wrote this poem about my dead dog, Daisy. I remember trying to write the darn thing about at least ten other topics like flowers and forests and unrequited love because that’s the kind of crap that sonneteers, as they were called, wrote about. But let me clue you in – these aren’t things I spend much time writing about. Really? But that seems so unlike me, right? I’m all about spending 14 lines of poetry to describe the curve of a rose petal and the sharpness of its thorns as they pierce my fingers – and metaphorically, my heart. Here, let me hand you a bucket. Keep that thing handy, would ya?

As the author of such gems as “Amputee,” “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” (about a transgendered person involved in a standoff with the police), and “Upon Seeing Jesus Christ in the Dollar Store,” flowers and unicorns rarely find their way into my verse. Since I detested – no, loathed – all the rules and sonnet regulations, I found the only way I could get through the process with an ounce of sanity was to pen a poem about something I actually cared about. In the process, I ended up with the worst tribute  in honor of a beloved pet ever written. In fact, it’s so God awful that Daisy now haunts me like Jacob Marley, weighed down by the forged steel links that the Lilliputians used to chain her to the grave. She claims that if I don’t repent my poetic sins and buy some lame dogs a turkey that they can rip apart at Christmas, I’ll die forgotten and alone. As if my sonnet hasn’t already assured that fate.

Why My Sonnet Sucks

1)  It’s Bad! You read it, right? It’s just bad. Really bad. So horrendously bad that it’s the Lindsay Lohan of poetry – a train wreck so terrible that you just can’t look away from the carnage. You’ve got to re-read it again and again to reaffirm that it’s as heinous as you initially thought. Don’t do this to yourself. It doesn’t get any better and you’ll get acid-reflux from all the puking. Or rug burn if you’re one of those people doing the whole ROFL thing.

Lindsay "Panties-Optional Trainwreck" Lohan - Look away! You can't, can you?

2)  Abominable Descriptions and Similes:

  • “our pygmy Lassie peed”  –  Daisy was a Sheltie. You’d think I could have used the word Sheltie and avoided the word pygmy – which makes people think of short Africans, not miniature Collies. And she peed. This may have been the inaugural usage of dog urine in a Shakespearean sonnet.

    African Pygmies - You're thinking of Shelties right now, aren't you? And peeing. It's just natural.

  •  “a doggy mannequin” –  Really? This was the best I could come up with?

    Who knew these even existed? Though this lends a shred of credibility to my sonnet, Daisy was not blind, hairless or an albino.

  •  The entire second octave -  Could I have listed more body parts? How did I leave out breasts, collarbone and ears?
  •  “Alone I cry as Mother speaks of cysts which invaded her body like Martians”  – You know those Martian cysts, right? They’re black, can only be destroyed by the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, and will make you “very angry, very angry indeed.”

I will destroy this sonnet with a kaboom. Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be a sonnet-shattering kaboom?

  •  “Her life chained to a grave by Lilliputians.” – What do little people who live in a fictional land have to do with this? Maybe if Daisy had been named Gulliver this would have worked. But then she would have likely had gender issues or people would have called her “Liver Lips.” You can’t put a dog through that just so you can use a word in a poem after she dies.

    Are those even chains? They look like ropes to me.

  •  “Daisy plays dead now like an Oscar nominee” – Though I’m sure that Meryl Streep can play a corpse like nobody’s business, the hard fact is that Oscar nominees don’t win awards for lying motionless on film. In most movies and television shows, extras and unknown actors play dead people. Dogs who can play dead in the movies may, in fact, deserve Oscar nominations, but the Academy does not yet recognize the contribution of canines to film.

    This is my cat, Dinsworth. Though he plays dead extremely well, here he is playing a homeless person.

  • “As she lies wrapped in sheets beneath our dogwood tree.” – For the record, Daisy wasn’t buried beneath a dogwood tree. It just sounded ironic – or what I thought was ironic at nineteen. I don’t actually remember what kind of tree it was. The truly ironic thing is that it died too. Good dog; bad fertilizer.

Alanis Morissette - She Didn't Know What "Ironic" Meant Either

3) It’s Not Really A Shakespearean Sonnet 

  • It has 26 lines and six quatrains – What part of ” a sonnet must have exactly 14 lines and three quatrains” did I not get? Why would I write 12 lines more than I needed to? I must be a masochist. Or maybe I was punishing my professor. You gonna make me write this crap; I’m gonna make you read a lot of it, a whole fucking lot of it. It will feel like it’s never ending, much like the Star Wars franchise. Perhaps the first three quatrains are actually the prequel for the final three quatrains. And the couplet, that was the animated version. You don’t like it; blame George Lucas.

    George Lucas - Don't Tell Me I Can't Make A Billion More Star Wars Movies

  • Use of the word “Lilliputians” put me over my syllable limit – For 23 lines, I stuck religiously to the 10 syllable rule and then I broke  it so that I could use the most ridiculous word in the entire sonnet. Seriously, Lilliputians? Sounds like stooped-over, little old ladies who collect Lilly Pulitzer dresses and meet for tea on Worth Avenue.

    Didja' hear? We're in a sonnet. I must schedule a reading at the Country Club.

  • Final couplet has 12 syllables per line – Just couldn’t shut up, could I? Drag the agony out a little bit longer.
  • My Rhyme Scheme Uses Most of the Alphabet –  If you recall, the rhyme scheme should follow this format: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. My sonnet’s rhyme scheme is as follows: ABCB DCEC FGHG IJKJ LMNM OPQP RR. Now I know my ABC’s, next time write a longer sonnet so we’ll get to Z.

    Even this ABC chart was subliminally telling me to QUIT when I reached the letter "Q". Oops, upon closer examination, it actually says QUILT. This would have still been a better pastime than continuing writing the sonnet.

  • I thought iambic pentameter was B.S. – To be blunt, I just didn’t even try. It was too much work, and it became clear very early on that this sonnet was a box of hardened fudge nuggets wrapped with a decorative Shakespearean ruff. Editing this monstrosity would have been a futile exercise in turd polishing.

So now that I’ve borne my soul naked and bare for you, sharing my most embarrassing writing endeavor with the world, I ask you to do the same.  I would love and appreciate your comments on The World’s Worst Sonnet Ever, but I also invite you to share your worst poem – sonnet or otherwise – right here on my blog. Just post it into the comments section. Let’s make this a celebration of suckiness. Let’s make a pact to strive for mediocrity so that one day we may post The World’s Most Average Sonnet Ever. 

As I await your responses, I’d like to dedicate this post to my dear friend, Evan, who loves “How Ironic.” In fact, he claims that it’s his favorite of all my poems. Of course, he eats babies for breakfast, lives in Portlandia and thinks he’s a trickster God, so what do you expect? Anyway, yesterday was his birthday. Happy Birthday, you freak!

Now let the comments and sucky poetry commence!