Now, what size did you want that frappuccino?
1. If one is the loneliest number, I suspect seven is Homecoming Queen. 3.14159265359 is Most Likely to Be Irrational and Transcendental. And sixty-nine is annoyed that everyone keeps trying to stick a misogynistic label to her perky breasts.
2. Ever wonder if Jesus might have just been a really good magician? Thank you, my disciples. Now for my next trick, I shall turneth thy water into a full-bodied Merlot. Or my blood. Just kidding. No, it’s my blood.
3. Is it just me or does the word “feces” sound like a pharaoh’s name? It’s probably just me.
4. I miss Pluto. What’s up with these astronomers suddenly downgrading Pluto from planet to dwarf planet. (And yes, I realize this happened in 2006. I’ve been catching up on my reading.) That’s not even PC. Shouldn’t Pluto be referred to as a little people planet? And what about the mnemonic device I used to remember the planets’ names in order? My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine makes no sense without the big finish: Pizzas. Frankly, I think we should all be wearing black and sitting shiva. It’s only been nine years and everyone’s over it, like we weren’t lied to since second grade science class. I blame Neil deGrasse Tyson.
5. Why doesn’t everyone double-knot their laces? I mean, why risk an untied shoe when you don’t have to? Seems like there should be a law.
6. Since snakes come in every color but purple, shouldn’t garden hoses only come in purple? Otherwise, we’re just torturing ourselves every time we walk in our yards and are accosted by garden hoses impersonating snakes.
7. Maybe people with minimalist, modern homes aren’t classy and restrained, but too poor to buy dust-covered chotchkies. And maybe their furniture is comfortable.
8. What’s up with all the confusion about the words gender and sexual preference? When did anyone write “gay” in the gender box on an application?
9. Schools no longer teach children how to write in cursive. Ha! I know more than a fifth-grader. Finally. But they don’t carry around the pain of losing Pluto.
10. The other day, I told someone on FB that he was “missing a sensitivity chip.” You know I’m pissed when I start quoting Jennifer Aniston. Steal her husband and she turns into a beast with words as her fangs.
Miss Snarky Pants is a humor and satire blog. If you don’t get it, you should move along quietly or be mocked.
A Stupid Butterfly Poem
Clipped between the window pane
and the screen,
two monarch wings
lay at wicked angles,
dusted with the world that passed
since they last beat
beat beat beat beat beat beat beat.
Against the scraping mesh.
Against the July-baked glass.
Against the sun.
I wondered how it happened,
how this fluttering wisp was trapped,
a cage on one side,
an impenetrable wall on the other.
Did its heart pound with more ferocity
than the slamming of its body –
its spindly, black legs as useless as dangling threads,
against its invisible warden.
Was it an unintended kidnapping,
or did some brute chortle,
watching the aching wings slam against the hot screen?
My disappointment in Humanity hung
thick and heavy as the humidity.
It was then that I noticed the screen
gaping away from the window.
Only inches of freedom to me, but acres to one
who fits in my palm.
– Miss Snarky Pants
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Copyright 2014 by C.C.L. and Miss Snarky Pants. All rights reserved. This is my poem. I wrote it. It is my property. Do not reproduce without my written consent or I will write a stupid poem about you and how you steal stupid poems.
First, it was women. Children. Now kittens?
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose armed protesters recently forced U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents to withdraw during an attempt to herd and impound Bundy’s cattle, which are illegally grazing on federally-protected lands, has come up with a new tactic to deter future attempts by agents: newborn kittens.
Former Arizona sheriff, Richard Mack was, reportedly, the mastermind behind decision to put women on the front lines, in the event that a “rogue” federal agent opened fire at last weekend’s Bundy protest, which involved close to 1,000 people, including armed members of Operation Mutual Aid, a non-government sanctioned militia.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front,” Mack told Fox News. “If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”*
“If they’re going to start killing people,” Mack told radio host, Ben Swann, “I’m sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot. I’m sorry, that sounds horrible. I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die.”**
When Mack was asked if he thinks putting women on the front lines would deter federal agents in the future, he responded, “No, we’ve played that card. We’ve asked Bundy’s supporters to bring kittens next time.” He explained that the plan is to attach cameras – connected to live YouTube feeds – to the newborns’ heads. The kittens will then be placed on the front lines, with the children and women behind them. “If a rogue agent takes a shot,” Mack said, “America will be watching kitten heads explode on the Internet.”
Mack further revealed that discussions originally included: playful otters in a tank, cute pandas, baby chicks and bunny rabbits.
In a related story, Richard Mack’s wife, Barbara, hastily filed for divorce this morning in Arizona, citing “irreconcilable differences.” She is seeking sole custody of the couple’s daughters.
**Also, an actual quote.
Miss Snarky Pants is a humor and satire blog for horrible people.
Miss Snarky Pants loves kittens. You should share this post because everyone loves kittens. Or photos of kittens. Or those really short videos of kittens that repeat over and over again. I don’t know what those are called, but, sometimes, they’re funny. Anyway, share this on FB and Twitter or on all those hipster sites I’m not cool enough to know about. If people like the post, they’ll remember that it was YOU who shared it.
And you get points for that.
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FT. LEE, NJ – Copies of personal emails between Chris Christie and his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, were released to several media outlets today, in which the Governor directs Kelly to “f*ck [sic] with that black kid, the one from the rally,” now identified as Ft. Lee second grader, Nate Hoffman. “Plant some pot in his locker or something,” Christie directed Kelly.
Kelly’s immediate email response: “Governor, he’s eight. He doesn’t have a locker.”
“I don’t care. No calls me Christie Pisstie, anymore, and gets away with it,” Christie replied minutes later. “Aren’t his parents those D-word, organic farmers who refused to let us put a billboard on their property? F*ckin’ hippies.”
“I’m not going to stash marijuana in his [Nate Hoffman’s] desk,” Kelly wrote back, explaining that buying pot would be “illegal, and I’m just not willing to do that.”
After Christie asked Kelly what she proposed, Kelly replied that their investigation into the Hoffman family indicated that Nate is “autistic and attends a private, special needs school in the city. He can become agitated when trapped in a car or any small, enclosed space for long periods of time.”
After Kelly rejected Christie’s suggestion that “someone rig the elevator at Hoffman’s school” as too dangerous to other students, she proposed, via email, “Why don’t we just conduct a traffic study and close a few lanes of the George Washington Bridge all next week?”
Christie responded, “During the first week of school? On 9/11? I love it when you talk dirty like that. Make it happen.”
The boy’s mother, Diane Hoffman, confirmed that “some Christie thug” visited their farm and questioned her about an incident that had occurred a week prior at a Barbara Buono rally. “I explained that my son is autistic. He wasn’t shouting, Christie Pisstie; he was hollering, Kristy Pisstie, because his little sister is named Kristy and she had just wet her pants.” When the man asked if her son had a vendetta against Governor Christie, Hoffman said, ” I told him that my son thinks the President is DJ Lance Rock. Unless Chris Christie is on Yo Gabba Gabba!, he’s not on my son’s radar.”
Hoffman’s father, Marcus, who drives his son to school every morning, is “infuriated” that the Governor would exact this kind of revenge upon a young, innocent child – all because of perceived name-calling. “Nate screamed for nearly three hours straight that morning,” he said. “Three hours in a Prius. My right ear has been ringing non-stop since September 11th.”
In an ironic twist, the Hoffmans decided to keep their son home until the lane closures ended, so Christie’s target “got the week off of school, and spent most of his free time watching Nickelodeon and playing games on his Xbox,” while thousands of drivers were forced to sit in traffic for hours each day, and local emergency services were severely impacted.
In response to the release of these emails, Governor Christie issued a statement, which reads, in part, “I’m thrilled that the Hoffmans have confirmed what I’ve been saying all along: Mayor Sokolich wasn’t on my radar screen.”
While the Ft. Lee family haven’t, yet, contemplated legal action, when asked how he thought Governor Christie should be punished for his actions, Marcus Hoffman said, “I think Christie should have to spend a weekend with Nate. In a Smart car. In bumper-to-bumper traffic. Windows up, motherf*cker!”
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NEW YORK CITY (The Snarky Pants Press) – A second pop star in as many months has secretly dropped a single on iTunes today. Cry for Help, is the first single to be released from Justin Bieber’s forthcoming album, Someone Reign Me In Before I Turn Into Leif Garrett.
When asked if Def Jam decided to covertly drop Cry for Help, in part, because of the label’s recent success secretly releasing Beyonce’s album, XO, which sold nearly a half million copies within the first twenty-four hours, Bieber’s publicist responded, “No, no. The song wasn’t ready. Justin was coming off of Xanax, and – between that and all the weed he smokes – his impulse control is pretty much non-existent. We just roll with it.” In fact, a source close to the Bieber camp, confirmed that, shortly after he surrendered to Toronto authorities, after being charged with criminally assaulting a limousine driver last month, Bieber used his sole phone call to contact his label – not his lawyer – to demand that Cry for Help be released the day after the Super Bowl, or he would take “drastic action.”
When pressed as to what Bieber meant by drastic action, a source close to the Bieber camp revealed that Bieber specifically threatened to “drag race a Lamborghini with bald tires on an Atlanta highway during an ice storm – while tweaking and having sex with a Brazilian prostitute” as soon as he was released from jail, if the record label refused to comply. “Naturally, Def Jam hung up on him,” the source said. “But then they thought about it and realized they should get a single out there before Biebs really f**ks up. You know, like tattoos a swastika on his forehead. Or tweets that he’s gay. Or gets married. He could lose his entire female fan base. That marriage shit is serious.”
On condition of anonymity, another source at Def Jam further confirmed that Bieber’s label tried to convince him that no one would hear his Cry for Help if he dropped it on Monday, as most news outlets would be reporting on the Super Bowl, the depth of the hole Chris Christie has dug for himself and, now, the sad passing of theatrical genius, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Unless Bieber were to get arrested or overdose on some hard drugs, the label insisted, his Cry for Help would be heard by no one. Def Jam’s decision to release the single on Tuesday prompted Bieber to tweet: “Do I have to DIE to get DEF JAM to HEAR me?” #Beliebers.”
It is noteworthy that Bieber paid tribute to Hoffman’s life by later tweeting: “Hope #PhilipSeymourHoffman was a #Belieber so he will get 2 Heaven. RIP Luv my fans.”
Music critics haven’t been kind when it comes to Bieber’s Cry for Help. “Raw, in a way that only Lorde can pull off, and partially-slurred…,” blogged Rolling Stone’s Mark Wonder, who further described it as “[a] whining diatribe about how Bieber wants to die because no one loves him enough to say no to him. Wah, wah, wah, Justin. Suddenly, you’re the exhaustingly maudlin Bella Swan of the music industry, but you were hired to be this generation’s Britney Spears. Now snort some cocaine and practice your high notes.”
Moreover, some critics have warned listeners not to read too much into Bieber’s morose lyrics in Cry for Help. Lyrics like: I wake and bake/naked girl at my side/Dad serves breakfast in bed/A blunt three inches wide, and This is a cry for help/Do I have to scream/I am so effed up/Better switch to Beam have drawn criticism from some in the rap community who believe that Bieber is in no real danger. “He’s smoking pot, man, ” Snoop Lion told an MTV reporter. “Do you think I’d smoke 81 blunts a day if the shit could kill you? I’ll worry when he starts hanging out with Keith Richards.”
One popular, Los Angeles-based DJ, JazzyJeff261, feels that if becoming a rapper is Bieber’s goal, he should consider referring to Selena Gomez as his “bitch” or “cock pocket,” in case recent photos of him canoodling a stripper’s breast weren’t enough to make the young actress and singer feel cheap and used. “If he was truly gangsta,” JazzyJeff261 said, “he woulda tweeted that pic himself. But he ain’t no playa.”
Randy Thurman with Entertainment Weekly panned Bieber’s Cry for Help as “predictable and stale.” Singling out some of the song’s most disturbing lyrics: Sometimes I think it’s not enough/The high lasts only hours/Sometimes I wish they’d just say no/Before I’m buried beneath flowers, Thurman blogged, “We’ve seen this desperate wail for attention before, but from artists like Kurt Cobain, who experienced genuine, personal pain in order to create his music. Bieber only experiences pain if his acne shows up in a selfie.”
“Bieber’s Cry for Help proves that he’s no Leif Garrett or Andy Gibb,” wrote Vibe blogger, Hannah Creed. “Perhaps The Bieb should consider acting; with any luck, he might end up like Corey Haim.”
Stars have reached out with advice. Miley Cyrus, who recently lit up a joint while accepting a music award in Amsterdam, suggested to People’s Cara Thandry that “Biebs should shoot the video for Cry for Help totally naked on top of, like, a wrecked train. And totally f**king high. Soaring, man. Just shoot it in, like, Denver, right?” She then stuck out her tongue and offered to French kiss Thandry, who declined.
While a guest on the TODAY show this morning, Kelly Osbourne suggested that Bieber, “Lose the bloody backwards caps. Makes him look like douchebag.”
Snoop Lion was similarly disappointed in Bieber, who rose to fame as a YouTube sensation. “I told him, ‘You don’t touch anyone. That’s why you got a posse. It’s the posse’s job to rough up f**king, limousine-driving, non-Beliebers. Not you, man. You’re the golden duck, you know?” When asked what he thought of Biebers’s alleged drug problem, Lion replied, “Is he out of drugs? Oh, man, I can hook him up.”
When asked what he thought of the 19-year old Bieber testing positive for Xanax, cannabis and alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, legendary musician, Keith Richards, laughed aloud and said, “Amateur. Let me know when he uses some real f**king drugs. Tell Bieber’s dad to call Snoop Dogg or Snoop Lion or whatever the f**k he calls himself now. He can hook him up.”
Though Bieber could not be reached for comment, his father, Jeremy, who assisted in blocking the Miami street his son was later arrested on for drag-racing while under the influence, has his own theories about his son’s recent escalating, erratic behavior. “It’s all about street cred. My son’s, well…you know, he’s a pretty boy. And he wants to be Eminem. But you gotta earn street cred. If you don’t go to jail, it’s because you’re a pussy. You don’t kiss a stripper’s titty while being photographed and, suddenly, you’re gay. You don’t do drugs and you’re a Jonas Brother. I’m just lettin’ him be Da Man, you know.” Asked if he thought his son had a drug problem, Jeremy Bieber laughed and said, “He was only driving 65 m.p.h. – in a Lamborghini – when he was pulled over. Hell, the pot and Xanax slowed him way down. He doesn’t have a drug problem; he has a drug solution.”
What about studies that suggest that heavy marijuana usage before the age of 23 can permanently damage the brain’s frontal lobe, affecting the user’s ability to control impulses and make well-considered decisions? “Whatever. Justin’s frontal lobe is unBeliebable, you know what I’m sayin’?” Jeremy said. “He’s more popular than Jesus Christ. How many 13-year old girls want to lose their virginity to Jesus? Not enough to afford Christ a Lamborghini, I’ll tell you that. He’s obviously making good decisions.”
Critics are complaining that Bieber’s Cry for Help lacks the distinctive boppiness that the singer is known for; however, his management team is more concerned that his recent antics are serious enough to get him banned from tween’s playlists by parents, but not serious enough to garner him the artistic respect he needs if he’s going to successfully transition from bubble gum to Big League Chew, ostensibly a better, badder bubble gum. However, if early numbers are determinative, Bieber’s Cry for Help fell on deaf ears todays – particularly with his most revered audience: tween girls, gay boys, the tone deaf, and pedophiles – selling only a few thousand copies this morning.
While a few celebrities have already suggested that Justin Bieber’s Cry for Help might be the real deal, his father dismisses these comments as “rumors and jealousy. Justin’s fine. I travel with him, everywhere. He’s 19. What do you want me to do? I buy his pot for him to make sure it’s the good stuff. Hell, I got a call in to Snoop Lion, as we speak.”
Three years ago, Justin Bieber, himself, reassured The Mirror that “I’m not worried about a Lindsay Lohan situation. You know, getting into drugs because there’s no one to ground you. I have good people around me.”
Miss Snarky Pants is a humor and satire blog. MSP does not endorse the use of marijuana – or any drugs – by minors (except as medically-prescribed), but supports decriminalizing marijuana for adult usage.
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Two weeks ago, another senseless mass shooting occurred in the U.S. The perpetrator, Aaron Alexis, stole twelve American lives (in addition to his own), injured another eight, and decimated most of what remained of the fragile hope I carried in my heart. The hope that this attack would be the one that removes semi-automatic and automatic weapons out of the hands of anyone but the police, security personnel, and the military. The hope that this attack would be the one to convince anyone suffering from a mental illness to seek help – without the threat of societal judgement. The hope that this attack would be the last. For a long time, anyway.
Perhaps I was naive.
The worst part is that when I write about this attack, I don’t mean the shooting committed by Aaron Alexis. No, I’m still reeling from Aurora. James Holmes’ hang dog face was burned into my eyelids the moment I glimpsed his cartoonish red hair and sly, but vacant – maybe too vacant – expression. Most serial killers don’t stand out because they’re too busy blending in. They live lives that don’t draw attention. Or suspicion. (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of Dexter recently, so I’ve got mad criminal profiling skills.)
Similarly, many who’ve known mass murderers – defined as a person who kills four or more people in a single incident – will confirm that they were shocked to discover that their friend, family member, neighbor or colleague was arrested for the first-degree murder of, not one, or even two people, but a dozen. All at once. When interviewed by the press, they nearly always say: “He seemed like a nice guy.” “He was always friendly to me.” “He kept to himself, but was really pleasant.” No one ever says, “I saw this coming from a mile away. That dude was a burnt sienna short of a box of Crayolas.”
Mass murderers are almost never biker-types with tat sleeves, shaved heads and a long, deep facial scars. They don’t typically look like Walter White; they more closely resemble your next door neighbor with the expensive landscaping and the Lexus…or his shy, college-educated son. Aaron Alexis could have passed for my friend’s husband. But James Holmes remains an enigma. On the surface, he makes Charles Manson look like your favorite babysitter, albeit one with a swastika carved into his forehead. James Holmes looks utterly cray cray, but he’s almost textbook – and that’s where the problem lies. After all, he was enrolled in a prestigious, neuroscience doctoral program. He had access to thousands of scholarly tomes about mental disorders, and made a classroom presentation entitled,”Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.” Certainly, we’re all hoping that he is mentally ill, because if he’s not, it’s terrifying to conceive that a sane person could mow down a dozen innocent moviegoers, and injure another 58, with such cold precision.
So when I read that Aaron Alexis had been hearing voices in the weeks prior to the shooting, I felt a sense of relief. The monster who terrorized the employees of the Washington Navy Yard was mentally ill. He wasn’t a bad person; he was a sick person who did a bad, bad thing. One whom believed his insomnia was caused by people “using some kind of microwave machine” that made his body vibrate and prevented him from sleeping – a fact that only cemented my resolve that Alexis was as much of a victim as the innocent people whom he killed. A victim who had notified authorities about his paranoid hallucinations, and, yet, nothing was done to prevent the heinous crime Alexis was to commit mere weeks later.
Last night, I was reading an article about the politicians responsible for the federal government shutdown. When I came across the following statement, my heart lodged in my throat:
And I am concerned. They are shipping all the, I’m concerned about the microchips. That they are in many, many of the things that we own. And some of those are embedded, I believe, with, with detection and, uh, capabilities or tracking capabilities.
That’s no mass murderer; it’s Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri (R), who apparently believes that her Chinese-manufactured blender is listening in as she makes her morning smoothie. What’s her solution to this dilemma? “We need to have a new 007 James Bond movie with China as the bad guys.” Erm, didn’t we do that already in Tomorrow Never Dies? I would think if China actually feared Hollywood, they wouldn’t illegally manufacture and sell bootleg copies of every major motion picture released, without paying a yuan in royalties.
Not surprisingly, she’s also a birther who has publicly said, “I have doubts that it is really his [President Obama’s] birth certificate…” Funny, she hasn’t questioned Sen. Ted Cruz’s citizenship – and he admits that he was hatched in Canada. (Yes, Canada, you owe us big time for that one. I don’t care if you gave us Ryan Gosling and William Shatner; you’re also responsible for Justin Bieber, so this is strike deux.)
More alarming is the fact that she also appears to be hearing voices. Just yesterday, she was quoted as saying, “The American people have spoken already on this. They do not want Obamacare.” Really? According to RealClearPolitics.com, five times as many people have already visited the Obamacare website than have ever visited Medicare.gov. In fact, it’s been reported that 4.7 million people dropped by Healthcare.gov within the first twenty-four hours of the site being launched, despite the fact that the federal government had just been shutdown by a handful of Tea Party zealots attempting to hold it hostage. So, who are the faces behind these “American people” Hartzler speaks of? Maybe this one:
Rep. Hartzler credits God with inspiring her decision to become a politician. At the age of nine. Did it occur to her that God may have only been encouraging her to run for Playground Committee Chairwoman, not Congress? What does God’s inspiration sound like, anyway? My vote would go to Morgan Freeman, but I suspect Hartzler’s God sounds more like Charleston Heston: “Run for Congress, Vicky, or I’ll pry this gun out of my cold, dead hands and show you how I parted the Red Sea.” The poster child for the anti-choice movement, she supports charging women who have abortions with first degree murder, and the physicians who perform said abortions with second degree murder. Climate change? She’s not buying it. She’s not even certain it exists…but if it does, she doubts “that man has a very significant role in that.”
I’d bet that Rep. Hartzler believes unicorns shit rainbows, but considering that she is a rabid, anti-LGBT activist, I doubt she recognizes the existence of rainbows at all. Kinda like gay marriage. Evolution. Gravity. On the upside, Hartzler supports increasing the size of the Navy in her land-locked Missouri. Erm, okay. You never know when North Korea is going to invade Mark Twain Lake.
While I’m relieved that it appears that Rep. Hartzler is suffering from a mental illness – much like Aaron Alexis – I’m concerned that she, along with a small Tea Party minority, seems to possess the power to shut down the federal government. When did we decide to hand the keys to the asylum over to the inmates? Why is John Boehner listening to a vapid, former home economics teacher whose greatest, single accomplishment so far is her contribution to passing a Missouri constitutional amendment banning gay marriage…in a state in which gay marriage was already illegal. Nothing like killing a fly with a jackhammer, huh, Hartzler?
If we continue to allow politicians who hear voices and hold conference calls with God, yet speak in whispers when within sight of a household appliance, to make decisions about the future of the United States, we could end up with much worse than 800,000 federal government staffers being furloughed indefinitely and Panda Cam going dark. In some ways, political terrorism is no different than a mass shooting, and the perpetrators no different than Aaron Alexis. Both wield power through fear. Both directly and indirectly impact the lives of thousands of people through intimidation, through terror. Both control the majority through the acts of the minority. Both hurt people.
For her sake, I hope Rep. Vicky Hartzler is mentally ill. Because if she’s not, that would make her a monster.
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Note: This post was not written, in any way, to trivialize or capitalize upon the victims of both the Aurora movie theater or Washington Navy Yard shootings. Please know that I offer my deepest condolences to both the victims and their families. Nor is this post intended to poke fun at those who bravely suffer from mental illness. Except for Vicky Hartzler. I was totally making fun of her.
Update: As per The Huffington Post, a Government Accountability Office analysis of Drug Enforcement Administration data has named Missouri the “methiest” state with 1,825 meth lab busts and seizures in 2012. One of only three states with over 1,000 incidents, Missouri beat out West Virginia, which ranks second with 1,585 arrests and seizures. Mother Jones reports that the most common victim of meth burn, often caused by the “shake and bake” manufacturing method, is under 4 years of age. Way to go, Rep. Hartzler! Maybe you should focus less on your anti-LGBT, anti-choice, anti-Chinese appliances, and anti-Affordable Healthcare Act platform, and focus on something that’s a genuine problem in your state.
It’s true. I’ve denied it for years, not because I was ashamed of being a hypochondriac, but because I didn’t think the word applied to me. Why? Miss Snarky Pants, with all of her books, her degrees, her 4-year reign as FCS’s Spelling Bee Champion – don’t be a hater! – never bothered to look up the friggin’ word in a dictionary. Nope, I determined its meaning from overhearing its usage in every day speech. My parents, for example, used the word a lot, and, come to think of it, slewed their eyes towards me whenever they uttered it. For all these years, I’d been operating under the delusion that a hypochondriac was a person who believed they had many illnesses, when, in fact, they did not.
Color me red when I discovered the error of my ways. The cornerstone upon which the entire foundation of who I am and what I believe was crushed when I Googled hypochondriac, only to discover that Dictionary.com defines it as “an excessive preoccupation with one’s health, usually focusing on some particular symptom, [sic] as cardiac or gastric problems.” For a moment, I thought, That’s not me. I usually think I have cancer. I’m not worried about my heart…except for when I can feel its beat pulsing in my temples, and then I’m certain I’m suffering an aneurysm. Hey, it could happen. And my gastric problems are real. You can’t fake diarrhea.
I scrolled down to the second definition: a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health. Crap! I couldn’t deny it. My health sneaks its way into every conversation I have these days. I get asked, “How are you feeling?” more often than Taylor Swift gets asked, “Who are you
going to write a nasty song about next week dating?” For example, today while I was warning my outdoorsy neighbor about the recent mosquito-borne pathogen outbreak in Florida, she blurted out, “What the hell is dengue fever?” However, her next question was “How’s your stomach feeling?” This woman has never even used my bathroom, but she’s knows that my bowel has been distressed lately.
And yes, I’m terrified that I’m going to contract dengue fever. Why?
(1) Eight cases have been reported in Florida in the last few weeks, in two counties: Martin and Miami-Dade. Granted, I don’t live in either of those counties, but mosquitoes can fly. Fly! They aren’t constrained by the nightmarish gridlock on I-4 as families squeeze in a pre-Labor Day Disney visit. No, mosquitoes view that arterial roadway as, well, an actual artery. Moreover, the Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito that typically carries the virus, prefers human blood to that of other mammalians. Did I mention that only the breeding females transmit the disease? Mothersuckers!
(2) I know someone who contracted dengue fever while in Central America. Obviously, the disease isn’t all that rare. His case was so severe, he prayed to God for death. And he’s an atheist.
(3) When it comes to mosquitoes, my blood is a bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. No, make that a FREE bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. Yeah, I had to Google that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Their lust for my blood culminates almost daily in a feeding frenzy that’s convinced me that no vampire could ever resist me. Take that, Bella Swan.
(4) I’m an unlucky person. Sort of. In my mind, most of the good things that have happened to me in life resulted from hard work and perky breasts, not good fortune.
The problem is that I’m a recovering attorney, and my mind operates in a very specific way. When I assess that there is a threat within a 500 mile or so radius, I scour the Internet for evidence to support or dismiss that threat. After reading dozens of articles, blogs, Wikipedia entries, and a couple of double-blind, random, placebo-controlled studies, and determining that the threat is valid, I then begin comparing the disease’s list of symptoms with my current ailments. Dengue fever sufferers, for example, may expect fevers as high as 106 F, severe headaches, body rash, joint and muscle pain so draconian it can cause contortions, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and minor bleeding from the gums and nose.
My gums bled this morning when I brushed my teeth. My lower back is killing me and I’ve had recurrent abdominal distress for over two weeks. Someone’s tap dancing on a nerve directly behind my left eye, as I write. I could be dying. But the only doctor I’ve seen in months is my chiropractor.
Why? Because I don’t really believe I have, or am going to catch, dengue fever, but the chance exists. In law, you might call it reasonable doubt or preponderance of the evidence. If there is any reasonable doubt that I could be bitten by an infected mosquito, then I have to take the necessary precautions to make sure that neither I, nor Hubby, my family, all my FB friends, all my Twitter friends, all the friends whom I’ve actually met, the lady in front of me in the checkout line who looks like she has a weak immune system, and each and every one of my adoring blog readers, contract dengue fever. Does that make me a hypochondriac or just a concerned citizen who believes that Benjamin Franklin was correct when he wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? C’mon, he nailed the whole electricity thing. The dude had mad smart skills.
Call me a hypochondriac, but it won’t stop me from hiding indoors after dusk for the next couple of months. After all, I live in one of the warmest, wettest places in the country, and that doesn’t take into account Tampa’s strip clubs, which are a hot mess all on their own. My yard breeds mosquitoes the way those Duggars spawn children. Our 1920’s bungalow rests on bricks stacked a foot high – and, based on the bites that pepper my calves and ankles – the dark, sweltering space below it is probably the largest Aedes aegypti neonatal unit in Florida.
Today, I’ll be calling our local mosquito control center and requesting that they do a drive by drenching. Likewise, thrice-daily DEET baths, and mesh body armor after dark are probably in order. I’ve considered sending Hubby outside 5 to 10 minutes ahead of me as a decoy of sorts, but that would involve stepping over a serious moral line. One I’d readily cross (hey, his immune system has my lymph nodes mounted on wooden plaque hanging on its wall), but those pesky, little bloodsuckers won’t touch him. It’s like his mother bottle-fed him a diet of Off! mixed with Skin So Soft. I thought spouses were supposed to have each other’s backs, but mine won’t even donate a pint of blood.
Prevention is the key to beating hypochondria. If I’m not bitten by a mosquito, I won’t worry that my headache is indicative of blistering fevers and aching muscles to come. Or, if I don’t leave the house until Thanksgiving. Or if I temporarily move to Antarctica.
Plus, I have bigger concerns. Did you know that spices can carry salmonella? The FDA will be releasing a study that shows that 15% of coriander, 12% of both basil and oregano, and 4% of regular ol’ peppercorns imported to the United States are contaminated with the potentially-deadly virus. Americans are particularly at risk because we tend to add pepper to our food after it is cooked – and the heating process is what destroys the salmonella virus.
Now ask yourself, Have I sprinkled a little fresh, ground pepper to my food recently? When did the chef add that coriander to my curry? What about the basil I use in my homemade Italian vinaigrette?
Now who’s the hypochondriac?
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oh, Sheldon, stabs the meek heart
in this engineer
– Howard Wolowitz
Einstein bled physics,
Newton unlocked gravity,
Sheldon still can’t drive
– Leonard Hofstadter
Grasshopper of strength,
may your mint milk inspire words,
ones spoken aloud
– Raj Koothrappali
Howard went to space,
whining like a transmission
needing a tune-up
– Sheldon Cooper
Fuck haiku, Priya.
Come near Leonard again, bitch,
I’ll cut you like grass
Oh, Sheldon Cooper,
your chastity belt chafes raw
my unshaven loins
– Amy Farrah Fowler
Your MeMa may live,
my bearded Wesley Crusher.
Still, I scream, “Wheaton!”
– Sheldon Cooper
make space toilets work, but not
– Mrs. Gunderson (downstairs neighbor)
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The definition of wit arose in a discussion I had the other night over beer and hamburgers. As a general rule, I’m against wit when meat, cheese and hops are involved as the effort is rarely remembered the following day since the recipients of the wit are either still stewing in their cholesterol-induced brain swell or just hungover. I, personally, have yet to ponder someone’s witticism from the night before while my head is dangling over the porcelain throne, so I’m assuming no one else does either.
Truth be told, I’m rarely witty whether or not beef and Budweiser is being consumed. Why, you ask? Clearly, I’m a mammoth of intellectual funny-isms or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. The problem is that I’m slow to wit. I come up with clever epigrams approximately fifty-one minutes after the witty comment would have been appropriate. Granted, my observations are often much more adroit than the retorts made by my compatriots at the time, but they’re late. Way late. Running-out-to-the-24-hour-pharmacy-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-buy-a-pregnancy-test late. This is fine if you’re writing a column or posting on Facebook, but I suspect that my friends may wonder if I’ve hired a ghost writer exclusively for those purposes because in person, my comments often tend to invoke the nervous laughter that is only uttered when others are uncomfortable or feel obligated to do something other than stare. You know what I’m talking about. Pity laughter – the awkward chuckle often heard in funeral parlors as friends and loved ones discuss zany things the deceased used to do when they weren’t so…well, dead.
Until recently, however, I’d always thought I was witty. Like everyone, I would have, on occasion, a particularly good evening. During these rare events, droll observations would drip off my lips like drool off a St. Bernard’s muzzle. Strangers would contemplate inviting me to dinner parties in the future. I basked in the glow of my sheer cleverness. My friends, on the other hand, would shrug and finally credit the alcohol. When I was having an off night (which in reality was a typical night), I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would write something incredibly astute and hilarious at a later date. Something that would be published. Something that would one day appear in quote books or, alternatively, quote websites or quote clouds as physical books will probably be extinct by the time I’m dead – and everyone knows the most surefire way to be included in a collection of quotes is to be dead first.
But back to the other night. A typical night, I might add, made even more typical by the fact that I was dining with a woman who has more degrees than a thermometer and was educated in Britain, the Birthplace of Wit; a gay man (Oh, step off your PC soapbox – if a gay man could carry a child in the uterus he doesn’t have, he would also be the Birthplace of Wit!) and my husband, perhaps one of the funniest people on the planet. I didn’t have a chance in hell. And they were talking about France and things that are French. If I was Sarah Palin, I’d tell you that I’ve been to France. But the truth is that I had a two hour layover in the Charles de Gaulle airport on the way to London. I did buy a baguette with brie on it and some Loreal hair conditioner, but I don’t think that truly constitutes having experienced the City of Lights. Unless, as I pointed out, you’re Sarah Palin – and then you wouldn’t have to buy a sandwich or hair products. You’d just claim you could see the Eiffel Tower from your First Class seat and go back to reading your magazine, the name of which would escape you.
My gay friend lived in Paris for several years, and my uber-educated friend is one of those artsy-types with an obsession for obscure European facts. My sole comment during this portion of the conversation consisted of something like, “What do you expect? They’re French.” This is my go-to statement when chatter turns to things francais because it applies universally. Doesn’t matter if you’re discussing the French’s attitude towards their politicians’ mistresses, their penchant for smoking from the time they can sit upright in a pram, or their insistence upon putting mushrooms in absolutely everything they cook. The easiest response for one who can’t come up with something witty is to simply chime in, “What do you expect? They’re French.” Following said statement with a knowing chortle is completely optional.
Grateful as I was when the discussion turned away from French cinema, I was disturbed when it turned to the topic of wit, generating a lively debate surrounding the word’s definition. Now, I’ve always ascribed to what is generally considered to be the most common definition of the word – at least according to those silly books that collect such information, a.k.a. dictionaries – and they define wit as “the natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.” As I have been perceiving and understanding things since I was knee-high to Tom Cruise, I was confident that I fit the bill. Hell, I possess a very expensive advanced degree and I’ve never failed a test in my life. Okay, that’s not completely true. I actually failed my first driver’s test, but I was set-up and, anyway, I totally aced the written portion. As I was saying, arbitrary tests that don’t involve operating something with a carburetor concede that I qualify as an intelligent human being. Then again, poop-throwing in chimps is considered a sign of intelligence, so the bar can’t be all that high.
Our dinner companions – my husband excluded as he does have to live with me – insisted that wit involves a timing component, and argued that if brilliance doesn’t strike as swiftly as lightning, it might as well not bother to strike at all. Granted, some dictionaries list “quickness of perception” or an ability for repartee or banter in their definitions of wit. But it’s never the first definition. It’s not the primary definition. Heck, on one website, it was subsection (d) of the third definition. Regardless, it was the meaning of choice for my friends. (And may I point out here and now that my gay friend is the same friend who once erroneously claimed that The Osmonds outsold Sonny and Cher in their heyday, so his perception is clearly warped). But, as former employer of mine used to say ad nauseum, “Perception is everything.” You can’t be witty in a vacuum. Wit requires an audience. In my case, I thought an audience of people with nothing better to do than read my meanderings was sufficient, but that evening I was informed that it was not the same. Apparently, in the Aesop fable, wit is the rabbit and the old adage of “slow and steady wins the race” doesn’t apply. My humor is the turtle and muddling along at a consistent pace just doesn’t cut it. Wit isn’t a marathon; it’s a sprint. If I can’t swiftly enunciate a zinger or amuse dinner guests with banter worthy of a Nora Ephron film, I might as well don a dunce cap and resign myself to eating Taco Bell in dark room by myself – maybe with with Carrot Top if I’m lucky. Actually, I think I’d rather eat alone. At least I’m funny on paper.
For days now, I’ve wallowed in this pit of dullard despair until someone recognized by millions as being remarkably witty – in fact, he’s paid quite a lot of money to be witty – appeared to take up my case. In a recent HBO special, comedian Ricky Gervais suggested that Oscar Wilde, the Godfather of Wit, also suffered from Dilatory Epigram Syndrome. When asked by a customs official if he had anything to declare, Wilde famously stated, “Only my intelligence.” Gervais suggested that the retort had probably occurred to Wilde sometime after an earlier encounter with a customs official. You know, one of those, “Damn! I should have said this!” moments. I know those moments well. Really well. Not on a first name basis well, but on a secret-birthmarks-that-no-one-else-knows-about well. According to Gervais, once Wilde had that moment, he stored it up and waited, crouched like a spider ready to attack. Please ask me if I’ve something to declare, he would think to himself. And finally, someone did. Wilde declared his genius. Then he died. Now he’s got entire books of quotes devoted entirely to things he allegedly said or wrote.
This may shatter many people’s perception of Wilde as the erudite dinner guest who spit out impromptu witticisms the way Americans spit out haggis into their napkins in a Scottish pub. If his initiation of a clever comment was machine gun rapid, I’ve always fantasized Wilde’s voice as luxuriously slow and languid. When he opened his mouth to speak, I imagine the guests’ forks would hover inches below their mouths because whatever choice bite was to emerge from Wilde’s lips was certainly tastier than anything on their plates. However, Gervais’ view suggests that the playwright and poet may have practiced his quips religiously in his state room, pacing the short length of the carpet reciting the verbal gems he would deliver should the appropriate question be offered. Perhaps he scribbled down all the things he wished he’d said at the previous evening’s dinner party into a little notebook, then rattled them off as soon as the opportunity arose again later in the week.
During the Victorian era, the issues of politics, English society, literature and the arts, and religion were popular topics in dining and drawing rooms all over Britain. It would have been easy for Wilde to anticipate future conversations and arm himself accordingly, loading his quips like bullets into a pistol and pulling the trigger whenever appropriate. When the subject of the Americas or politics was broached, he could rattle off, “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people,” a statement which would have signaled uproarious laughter and tittering at any Victorian table. If the topic turned to fellow playwright, critic and frequent dinner guest, George Bernard Shaw, Wilde may have been well-prepped when he slung this backhanded compliment: “Bernard Shaw is an excellent man; he has not an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him.” In a closed society, self-described by Wilde as one in which one only “has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people…” in order to be admitted, amusing the cream of London society would have been a priority in order to ensure his continued success, both socially and financially.
So to those friends of mine whose synapses fire away quickly over appetizers, leaving the rest of us behind in a haze of smoke and clever diatribes, I say,” Erm…hold on second. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. Just give me a second. No, really. This is going to be hilarious.” Forget it, I’ll get back to you in about fifty-one minutes and when I do, prepare to die. Or maybe you’ll just blush or giggle or get a little embarrassed because I did it in print. Online. And everyone who knows me also knows who you are, so it kinda sucks for you, really. But I will do it. I’ll be witty and you’ll rue the day you ever said I wasn’t. The slow and steady spirit of Oscar Wilde inhabits me. Can I say that it’s a little uncomfortable because he was a large man? An awfully large man.
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