Category Archives: Miscellanea

Nostalgia Under The Plastic Stars.

I spent Wednesday night into Thursday at my mother’s house so I could help assemble the Thanksgiving day meal.  I wasn’t so much a cook as a cook’s helper; I peeled a shitload of apples and potatoes, washed some counters, cut up some vegetables, stuffed some celery, and did all of the other time consuming grunt work that would have bogged my mum down from making what will inevitably be my death row meal request:  her New England style sausage stuffing.

(Does threatening to commit a death row scale crime in jest constitute announcing intent?  If so everyone reading this has just become an accessory, SUCKERS. ).

Later that night, after wrestling with the dogs to take a fucking chill pill and sleep despite our strange surroundings, I was really surprised when I shut the guest room light out to see the ceiling start to glow with little plastic stars.  I have to admit I had a zen moment staring up at them:

I’d put those stars up when I lived at home, and more than ten years later (going on fifteen, I think?) they’re still there.  I told my parents I was glad to see them, and my stepfather said he liked them there, that it was a nostalgia thing having them on the ceiling.  His son had them, I think his daughter had them, and I had them.  It’s a small reminder of what we were like when we were little people as opposed to the quasi-but-barely-functioning adults we’ve become.

Of course, the nostalgia bit prompted my mom to share a doozy of  Hillary story that I figure I’ll blab about for your entertainment.  As a miniature, I had a Cabbage Patch doll named Lyle Bailey.  I mentioned him before in the Creepy Doll post, though he was not THE creepy doll.  He was just your standard, run of the mill Cabbage Patch with a big bald dome and a blue onesie pajama.

At Least He Didn't Look Like This

Now, keep in mind this was the early 80’s, so Cabbage Patch Kids were the “stand in line for hours and kill your neighbors if they cut in front of you” toy.  To get one, you had to know someone in the industry (Child World employees were all the rage in ’82), threaten others with severed horse heads, or trade your prison cigarettes and first born male child.  Possibly all of the above.  Every kid in the universe wanted a Crappage Patch doll from Santa, and some parents had to take offers they simply couldn’t refuse to provide for their needy spawnlings.  My parents were no different.

The good news was, their mafioso level antics of procuring me a Cabbage Patch kid paid off.  I loved the damn thing.  When Laren wasn’t being dragged around, Lyle Bailey was, and to this day I remember the weird baby powder perfume smell they chemically infused his head with.  It was too sweet and slightly plasticky, and I’d sniff him almost like I was huffing paint.

Fast forward a little to a grocery store adventure with mom, me, and Lyle Bailey. I  was four, and thus old enough to not have to ride in the carriage if I didn’t want to.  How foolish I was, opting out of that awesome little shopping cart seat.  I wish they had adult sized ones now.  I’d make Dave push me around.  AHEM.  ANYWAY.  So yeah, mom was pushing the carriage and doing the aisle sweeps thing people do when they’re grocery shopping, and I was tottering behind her actually quiet for once.  That was when she noticed the people walking the opposite way from her, as in those who could see past her to the small Hillary behind, smiling and laughing.

Slow motion spin, the knots forming in the pit of her stomach, because she just knew I was doing something awful.  And oh was I!  I’d tugged my shirt down to my navel and had shoved Lyle Bailey up to my four-year-old booblet.  My mother’s eyes bugged out and she shriek-asked what I was doing, and in a very loud, very proud voice, I announced to all of Shaws Supermarket that I WAS BREASTFEEDING LYLE BAILEY.

I had an aunt who’d recently had a baby, and I’d seen the breastfeeding bit, and . . . yeah.  I think I had the luckiest Cabbage Patch Kid in the world.  I took real good care of him, yes I did.  The studio audience at Shaws was wildly entertained, and I don’t know if Mom laughed or was utterly mortified, but I was told very firmly that that was not an appropriate thing to do with my doll in public.  I don’t really remember how I took that news, but I was sort of a shithead as a kid so I probably Hulked out and screamed or something.

I think Mom still has the Lyle Bailey doll upstairs in the den closet.  At least, I think I spied him when I was in a search for a laptop cord sometime last year.  I leave him with her, because I’d hate for one of my dogs to accidentally maul a 30 year old doll, and by all accounts, Lyle Bailey went through a lot under my ministrations.  He deserves a peaceful, quiet retirement.  At least I can confidently say now that I’d never ever breastfeed a Cabbage Patch Kid in public.

At home?  Well.  I can make no promises.  And that’s why Lyle Bailey has to stay away.

Hillary’s House of Fears.

I figured Black Friday was a good time to talk about my fears. One of them would happen to be bargain shoppers with aggressive carriages, frenzied looks in their eyes, and a To Do list taller than I am. I will not tarry with these people, because I am quite aware that my life means nothing next to a forty percent off flat screen TV with two HDMI outputs and a seven year warranty. Accidentally stepping between a shopper and their prized goods could end with me writhing on a Walmart floor, a Bic pen wedged into my jugular and a lake of blood beneath me.

In all seriousness? That level of crowd freaks me out, especially when people have adrenaline shoving its way through their veins. Herd mentality is a No Can Do. I don’t trust group think in the slightest. It’s why you won’t ever see me at a political rally or a protest, either. It’s not that I don’t – care -, it’s that the idea of being lost in a sea of intent, fixated people who believe passionately about something? I just see too many ways that can go wrong. A zillion tweaking folks could be inspired to great heights under such circumstances, yes.

. . . but they could also be too easily caught up and plummet to new lows, too. “Lost in the moment” is what they call it. I’m quite comfortable not being lost, thanks. I’ll be over here sipping a latte (and not one of those cheater soy ones, either) while other people go change the world or kick a puppy because Glenn Beck told them to.

Another fear? Heights. Even looking at picture of heights can destroy me. Chicago has this torture room called Skydeck. Skydeck is a glass veal box jutting out from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower. You pay money to stand in it and look down so you can see exactly how far you’d fall if someone hated you enough to make you a human lawn dart from 18 zillion feet up. I was going to post a picture of it here, but I was afraid of vertigo every time I clicked on my own site. I’ll pass on that one, methinks.

Now there’s a story that goes along with my fear of heights, and it involves a long-dead amusement park in Rhode Island called Rocky Point. I’ve always had this hang up about tall verticals, and like most normal people I don’t particularly like being afraid of something. Even at thirteen years old (when this tragic event occurred) I was cognizant of how stupid it was to be afraid of heights, especially since I lived in a one story ranch through most of my formative years, and the furthest I went up in high school was to Miss Snipas’s science classroom. So I ventured to Rocky Point with my family and one of my friends. They had this ride there called the Free Fall. It launched you nearly into orbit, let you look around at the park for about three seconds, then let gravity do its thing. I’ll give you the abbreviated version of this story’s ending because I’m sure you can all see where this is going . . .

Add in more tears, snots, quivering legs, nausea, and a ruined day. It was not one of my brighter moments, and also the last time I attempted to “conquer” a fear.

Next on the list of “things Hillary DOES NOT WANT” . . . wood ticks. This stemmed from a really gross nightmare I had, and though I probably shouldn’t share said nightmare, I’m going to. If you don’t like “icky nasty bogus visuals”, don’t read this paragraph and skip past the next image. In fact, skim for the paragraph starting with the word “Snakes” and you’re good. There, a warning for our home audience. And now back to the fears!

You know how sometimes dreams don’t come back to you until you stumble across an unfortunate trigger, and the next thing you know you’re wide eyed because you recall something you really wished you hadn’t? Maybe you don’t know that feeling,and consider yourself lucky if that’s the case, because this happened to me very unexpectedly when I was at my uncle’s house and saw one of these:

A seeded sunflower gave me a Vietnam-scale flashback of a nightmare in which I shaved someone’s head and it was covered with ticks. You probably already know that blood engorged wood ticks become this really gross beige color. It’s nasty and scary and skeevy and yuck, and my mind correlated the sunflower seed casings with the nightmare and yeah, I was done. Sick, yes? And that’s why I’m terrified of ticks AND . . . sunflowers. Yep. About ten years ago EVERYTHING was sunflowers. I think there was a hugely popular perfume released under that name, and the correlating marketing storm of sunflowers all over every piece of merchandise ever made me froth at the mouth and convulse.

Snakes are another one of my “things”, though I can’t actually tell you where that started, only that I resent this phobia because I understand logically how cool snakes are. A few years ago, me and a sweltering tide of estrogen (Lauren, Sarah, Melinda, Melissa, and Erica) went to New Orleans on vacation. During our adventures, we made a trip to the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Zoo is one of the coolest places I have ever been; the animals have gorgeous exhibits, there’s flowers and trees everywhere so you almost feel like you’re walking through a park in between seeing the animals. New Orleans in September can be a lot like Florida in that you get these super powered rainstorms that will appear out of nowhere, piss on your head for ten minutes straight, and then simply evaporate. We got caught in one of those storms, and ran for the nearest building that could offer us shelter until the rain stopped.

Why no one noticed it was the Snake House, I can’t say, but it was an ugly realization. On the ceiling of the exhibit they had a stuffed version of the world’s longest anaconda. It spanned two or three rooms and was as wide around as a tree trunk. There were poisonous snakes behind glass all around us, and I nearly started hyperventilating on the spot. I dug my fingernails into Lauren’s shirt and she was good enough to guide me from one end of the exhibit to the other, my eyes closed the entire time. We were doing pretty good there for a while! I managed to get to the last room, my back to the snakes so I could look straight out the door instead of having to turn around and face my scaly nemeses.

Thud. Thud, thud.

You know how the girl in the horror movie should never turn around because inevitably the serial killer is standing right behind her? I never should have turned around. Directly behind me was an albino rattlesnake, its evil red eyes staring at me as it bashed its head off of the glass. To this day Lauren says the thing smelled my fear and that’s why it started to go apeshit in its snake cage. That was it for me. I freaked out and ran outside in the rain, opting to wear wet, soggy pants all day (and actually get a rash for my efforts) instead of standing around in that snake building for one moment longer. The rash was worth it.

So tell me, Studio Audience, got any hang ups you want to share with the class?

The Unsung Heroes.

I was sitting at my mother’s house this morning talking about a few potential blog posts I had whirling around inside of my cranium. I mentioned that I intended to write about Azazel (one of the lords of hell) next, and she gently reminded me that not everyone in the world is as creepy-crawly as I am, and maybe something a little less fucked up on occasion wouldn’t be a bad thing.

“Like what?” I asked.

“How about like what you’re thankful for?”

“But everyone does that. It’s so ordinary.”

“So make it creative,” she said.

Fine. Creative it is.

I’m thankful for this:

This is my step-father’s Thanksgiving day chair. It’s a lawn chair specifically brought into my mother’s gorgeous living room so he can watch football. It’s equipped with all-weather nylon fabric, netting, plastic covered fake metal rods, and two drink holders. On the left you can spy Drew’s beer can. On the right? Is a remote control. Mind you, the channel will not change once the homoerotic ballet that is the Patriots’ game commences, but it’s there like an old friend – a comforting weight in his hand when things get intense. Like the blue people throw themselves at the red people on an imaginary line, and someone has a ball somewhere only I have no idea where. Hrmm. Drew’s screaming. That might be frustration.

Why is this game so confusing?

So, why am I thankful for the football chair? Because it reminds me of how wonderfully, absurdly off-kilter my family is. If you need more proof, take a peek at the little decorator pillow my mother put on the seat. It’s french toile, because Mom said she wanted the chair to blend with the rest of the decor. Yes, a french toile throw pillow on a chair that should – by all accounts – be outside.

There’s other things I’m thankful for – things I’ll call the unsung heroes. Things people don’t usually thank. For starters? Deodorant. Why? Not because I really care about my own stink, but I certainly care about other people’s stink. I thank you, deodorant, for making standing in lines and being on public trains way more palatable.

The same can be said for toothpaste. Nothing’s grosser than someone talking to you, using a lot of h’s and exaggerated vowels, and their breath being sour enough to curdle milk. Crest, Colgate, and Close Up? I salute you. You make me hate people just a little bit less.

I’m thankful for bathroom spray, the smell of a new car, and dryer sheets for making my laundry fluffy. I’m thankful for the convenience of a laptop, over sized coffee mugs, and hot apple cider when it’s cold out. There’s bars of soap, the feeling of crisp sheets on your back, and lemonade in August. The guy that invented the bread bowl for soup? Him. Yes, thank you bread bowl guy.

I’m thankful to granny panties for being so comfortable, having JUST ENOUGH toilet paper left on the roll so there’s no disasters, and busted out old jeans. I’m thankful for pizza delivery, my dvr, and snow blowers. Oh, and neighbors with slow plows who do your driveway when you’re not expecting it. I’m thankful for tweets that unexpectedly make me laugh, Old Spice commercials, and flip flops. I’m thankful to Deep Woods Off, my super limp down pillow, and open windows when there’s a bad smell in the room.

(Thanks Gus. No more turkey for you).

I’m thankful for tissues, commercial free radio hours, and odor eaters. I’m thankful for tweezers and those sponges that have a hard scrubby side and a soft spongey side. I’m thankful for the satisfaction of filling your mouth with whipped cream directly from the can, and cold milk combined with warm cookies.

There’s a whole lot more, I’m sure, but for now . . . thank you unsung heroes of my daily life. Thank you for being -awesome-.

From The Desk of Lulu Von Saggenbottom:

RE: Operation
Time: 1200 Hours
Date: 23rd November, 2010
Location: Low to the floor

This is Lulu Von Saggenbottom reporting from in between the third and fourth sectors of our safe house. I am currently nose to nose with a dust bunny the size of an armadillo, and there are feline destructo-bots surrounding me. I record this journal entry so that should my operation go awry, a testimonial survives, and all correspondence may be uploaded to the Saggenbottom home base. I strive for success, but the will has grown weak in the wake of the various tortures heaped upon me.

At 0300 hours I was infiltrating the human bed, nestled up against One-With-Boobs. Despite the allure of continued sleep, it was necessary to complete a patrol of the perimeter, and so I snuck from my position, only to be caught by One-With-Boobs near the bedroom door. It seems my toenails have once again given me away on hardwood. I watched One-With-Boobs flop out of bed, much like a dying fish, and together we secured the backyard against invading enemies. One-With-Boobs lacks my ninja capabilities, though, so it was more me wandering around the yard while she smeared her face against the sliding glass doors groaning for sleep.

Upon completion of urination on the deck proper (as I have intelligence suggesting biochemical warfare is afoot in the grass and I avoid it at all costs) I deemed it safe to return to the interior. Patrol one was a success. Before I would go back to the sanctuary of down comforters and fluffy pillows, though, I sat by the doors and demanded sustenance. My sweep of the night yard was exhausting and my body craved food. I refused to move even when One-With-Boobs began to abuse me by poking my hind quarters with her foot. She soon understood my silent plea – I will not sink to this lesser being’s form of communication – and I was given a proper snack for my efforts. We returned to bed thereafter.

Patrols commenced again at 0430 and 0600. The former was accompanied by a satisfying poopie on the deck, which did cause One-With-Boobs much upset, but in the vast scheme of this dangerous operation, I consider it collateral damage. Normal activities commenced at 0800, when the emergency siren began to blare. I promptly jumped to the defense, readying my lasers and EMP bombs, but once again this was merely a test of our emergency broadcast system. As I was now awake, and my stomach demanded more nutritious things, I followed One-With-Jang to the back end of the house, specifically the kitchen, and forced him to feed me, my lasers pointed at his back. He cried and begged for mercy, attempting to feed me Alpo Meaty Chunks, but I demanded human fare instead. I was sated with a meal of French cut green beans with a dollop of Greek yogurt over a bed of savory kibble. Extravagant, yes, but I accepted this offering for the securities I provide One-With-Jang and One-With-Boobs.

As much as it pains me to write, I am beginning to suspect awful things of One-With-Jang. Five days of the week he leaves the perimeter at 0830 and does not return until at least 0530. A thorough sniff of his person suggests he goes somewhere very clean. Too clean. I can detect no other agents of my variety, only cafeteria food and perhaps a bathroom within a hermetically sealed ward. I have informed the proper authority that we are perhaps dealing with a double agent in our midst, and they have suggested that they will address the matter in their own time. I pray for you, One-With-Jang, as I think you will need it. Your loss will be a sad one.

Home matters commenced at 0930, when One-With-Boobs wandered around the house, clearly drugged by one of my many enemies. She walked into a wall, a doorway, and tripped over nothing at all in her pursuit of a bevy of medications, all of which were swallowed down by delicious smelling juice I tried to get her to share. This mission was unsuccessful. One-With-Boobs was in a delirium and clearly did not see me asking for juice beneath her feet. I was resigned to follow her from the washroom to the office, silently distraught that I was juice-less. I cannot communicate the hardships I endure on a daily basis here.

I consider it my sacred duty to keep One-With-Boobs active, as her health has been delicate these past few months. As such I waited until her posterior met the wood of her office chair before demanding she let me secure the perimeter again. I spun in circles and made loud, demanding noises to rouse her from her stupor. She looked at me with something akin to annoyance. I would not bend to this emotional torture, though, and roused my sleepy (yet dim) partner, Deetles Von Saggenbottom, to aid me in the endeavor. Together we convinced One-With-Boobs that a thorough perimeter sweep was in order, and she relented, stomping through the house with a string of muttered curses to allow us outside.

During the morning patrol, I encountered some noteworthy things: two agents across the fence to my south, a single agent to the east, and a stick. I have exchanged information with the southern-most agents before, and we met through the single broken slat in the fence, whispering plans and exchanging pivotal information. We believe the agent to our east has gone mad. He spends much of the day making loud, annoying noises for absolutely no reason, and we decided despite the allure of having higher numbers, the easterly agent has clearly been tortured beyond any semblance of usefulness. We consider him lost to the cause.

After the fence meeting, I stumbled across a most interesting stick approximately twice the length of my own body. I assessed it, measuring its weight to see if it would make a viable improvised weapon should mouth to hand combat commence. I deemed it worthy, and placed it near the back steps for use later on.

I will not go so far as to suggest I have psychic powers, but I will say I know the patterns of One-With-Boobs, and I was able to estimate at approximately what time she would finish her morning sustenance and return to her work station. As such, when I knew she had just sat down once again, I communicated that my patrol was over. When my voice alone was not enough to inspire her to move, Deetles Von Saggenbottom joined, and together we chorused a loud demand to come inside. I know she is a simple creature, but I wish One-With-Boobs would understood that this was for her own safety.

One-With-Boobs’s resolve was nothing in comparison to the dual Von Saggenbottom front, and she arrived moments later to open the portal of the home base. Both Deetles Von Saggenbottom and myself sat for long minutes, expecting sustenance for our efforts, but One-With-Boobs is a cruel human and ignored our plaintive whines. I will starve to death by day’s end.

What I have to report next is where my infiltration mission went awry, and why I feel the need to communicate the day’s actions in case of unexpected tragedy. At approximately 1100 hours, a feline destructo-bot appeared, slinking from a hidden position beneath furniture. It was large and painted black and white, and seemed ready to explode at any time. I attempted to disarm the bombing mechanism inside of the destructo-bot, but I could not wedge my snout up the feline shaped entity’s rear end, which is its only vulnerable position. The destructo-bot went into self defense mode, its razors flying at my eyes. I attempted to cow destructo-bot with a loud series of shouts, but this proved futile. Destructo-bots are equipped with flying mechanisms, and much to my dismay once I had the enemy cornered, it sailed above my head, positioning itself on a high shelf so it could plot an aerial strike.

I lay in wait, hoping One-With-Boobs does not realize the peril the feline destructo-bot has placed all of us in.

It nears 1200 hours. Should you not hear from me again, I wish it to be known that I, Lulu Von Saggenbottom, regret nothing of the last two years. I lived true to my code, and acted as any agent in my position ought. It has been an honor serving Saggenbottom Headquarters. I salute you, my comrades, and I can think of no more honorable death than sacrificing myself to a feline destructo-bot’s insidious plan should the need arise.

Lulu, out.

The Mother Ship.

I don’t know at what point my mother went from being a figure of terrifying authority to a friend, but somewhere along the line this happened, and I don’t think I can properly put into words how glad I am for it. A little history for those that might not know so this rambling wall of text makes sense: my grandmother died three years ago. She was one of my best friends in the entire world. In fact, as a little kid I spent almost as much time at her house as my own house. Mum and I lived with Gram up until I was about six, and after that (until I was seventeen) we lived right down the street from her, which meant as I passed her house on my way home from school, I’d stop in. She was my babysitter, secondary mother, and all around sounding board. To say that I wish every single day she was still with me is an understatement. I wish she could see that my writing has progressed and that I’m working on publication. She always said I was a lot like her, and though I don’t believe I have Dorothy’s steel (that woman was a battleship, no shit) I like to think I got her smarts, her humor, and her ability to spin a word or two. If Awakenings gets published, I got the okay from Lauren to put an “In memory of” line in there for her at the beginning. Lauren’s pretty fucking swell in my mind.

For all of the lovely things I can say about my grandmother, one thing I don’t like admitting to myself is that her loss correlated with a new-found appreciation of the relationship I have with my Mum. Lemonade from lemons, maybe, but it’s really crappy looking at your life’s most traumatizing moment and finding something good there. There’s multiple layers to this, of course, and all of them are pretty self evident, but I’ve had a lot of time to mull this over lately, so please bear with as I wax about my life.

When Gram was alive, she used to say “you’ll miss me when I’m gone, kid”, almost like it was a threat, and I think it was because my grandmother saw the relationship between me and my mother as this tentative, rocky thing that – with the slightest provocation – could go volatile. She viewed herself as the neutral party who could (and would) act as a translator and mediator when Mum and I clashed. For a time, she wasn’t that far off the mark. Don’t get me wrong, Mom and I had a decent relationship most of the time, but we got frustrated with each other a lot, too. I thought my mother was a hard ass, and though my mother always loved me, she’d get frustrated that I had so much potential and so little motivation. At the time I resented the crap out of her for that, but I think a lot of that was immaturity talking. I’m a lot more cognizant now that I have a terrible case of “big brains, little drive” when it comes to things that don’t interest me. Set me down on something that catches my fancy? I’m unstoppable. But I’m awfully choosy about what constitutes “worthy of my interest”, and it’s gotten me into some shitty situations in the past. Most of these situations are my own damned fault.

No parent wants to see their kid suffer. I think it’s probably twice as hard to see your kid suffer because they’re repeatedly shooting themselves in their own dick. And I? Was a dick shooter. So my mother got pissed off with me a lot. Most parents in her position probably would have, too.

Gram passed three years this coming March. There was a fuck ton of tension broiling around then. Everyone was worked up, sad, frustrated. To be blunt, I ended up having a nervous breakdown. I’d like to say that’s an exaggeration, but it’s really not. I took her death so poorly my stomach ended up rotting itself, a lot of pent up bullshit came to the surface, and I’m still struggling to get myself situated all this time later. It wasn’t until after she died that I realized I had a new challenge on my hands, too. Now that she was gone, I had to actually talk TO my mother. Directly. See, I’d gotten into this habit of streaming a good chunk of my conversations with my mother through Dorothy first, so she’d give me advice, pointers, and her thoughts on things before I even got started with my mother. It was like I prefaced every conversation with Mum by cross-checking with her agent. Weird, huh? Yeah, I didn’t understand how weird that was either until I was faced with having to go straight to the source and was completely cowed by the prospect.

Weirder still to me (at first) was that when I actually got the stones to pick up the phone? It wasn’t the scary, terrifying thing I envisioned. In fact, I liked my mother a whole lot more when we talked to each other without all of that preliminary bullshit. I felt like we actually communicated in a healthy way instead of some bizarro-world filtered conversation that I’d conjured with my grandmother. It was . . . a relief. It was nice. It was something I enjoyed doing. And it’s just gotten better.

Now I can’t say for sure if it was the loss of the translator that made me feel closer to my mom, or if it’s just something that happens when women hit 30. My best guess is that it’s a combination of both. I’ve flat out asked other women when Mom went from THE MOTHER SHIP to Friend-Mom, and it seems to be a common theme that you hit your late 20’s or early 30’s and BAM! Mom becomes a buddy – someone you can call and chat with about anything instead of talking to her only when the shit hits the fan because she’s an authoritative figure.

I’m probably going all deep on this topic because Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and even more than Christmas or Halloween, this is (and always was) my favorite holiday. When Gram retired from cooking way back when, my mother took over. For a while she did huge family holidays, but when that became too much work, it was just Gram, me, Mom and Drew. Some years Dave was there, others he wasn’t, but that core group was always at the table. It’s felt a whole lot quieter since we lost Dot (though I will never forget that the last Thanksgiving we had with her she only ate potatoes and stuffing and said screw the turkey, she was too old to eat shit she didn’t like), and though the family is a little smaller and the dynamic has changed some, I’m thankful for what I’ve got.

Which is my mom, and this new awesome thinger I’ve got going on with her. It’s good. I hope other folks get to experience something like this, too, cause it’s pretty neat.

Hello My Little Lotus-Eaters.

I’m a relatively lazy person. I think most people at their cores are lazy people. I suppose Type A personalities might be different (and as Becky pointed out, bless them for working so hard so everyone else can work a little LESS hard), but still, when presented with shortcuts or the opportunity to skim a little fat off the top? People will take it and run because why the fuck not.

One habit I got into that began to bother me was ‘blowing past things I heard that I didn’t understand and willfully choosing to remain ignorant instead of taking the time to look something up or ask’. I hang out with an incredibly intelligent group of people. If you listen to Lauren or Reuben talk for more than twenty minutes, they’re going to toss out a four or five syllable word and it’s going to make you blink and go ‘whaaaa?’. I do it to folks sometimes too, and it’s not because I want to make anyone feel stupid, it’s just . . . well. I love words. Lauren and Reuben are the same – they have a love affair with the language and it manifests in their daily communications with other people. Our vocabulary can (and does) terrorize at times.

(Aside: I’d apologize for using the 50 cent words but I wouldn’t mean it. I want a bigger vocabulary. I want a vocabulary so big that when I unzip you can’t help but be bedazzled by my verbose dong. Frightening image? You’re welcome.)

Back to the point of the post. Up until maybe maybe a couple months ago, I’d hear a foreign word or sentiment and I’d try to figure it out through context of the other words around it. Sometimes, depending on the conversation, that’d work. Other times? Yeah, not so much. So I’d go on my merry way, content to be lazy and dimwitted, all the while crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t encounter anything else that’d make me feel lower on the food chain than my gigantically brained friends. Of course the logical solution would have just been to say to said friends HEY FUCKOS, WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY AND WHAT’S IT MEAN. Sadly, there’s an insecure little girl inside of Hillary squealing “Don’t ask these people you adore what that word means, because you want to look like you’re just as smart as they are and admitting that a word isn’t on your radar is expressing weakness and stupidity!” I would like to choke this insecure little girl, because the lovely part about my friends – the very reason these people ARE my friends – is because they don’t judge. Sound logic doesn’t negate the panic of being outed as less smart than everyone else, though, so I made a promise to myself. If I stumble across a word or reference I don’t know and don’t have the gonads to flat out ask about? I’ll look it up later. I’ll mentally table it and address it so I don’t stay dumb.

For example, the title of this blog. I’ve been a chatty wenchling about the awesomeness that was the first two seasons of Californication. It’s the type of fast, witty writing I adore. The last time I encountered something so snappy and quick was West Wing back in the day (even though Aaron Sorkin admits now to writing the entirety of that series while doped up on cocaine and sniffing lines off of Vegas hookers’ asses. But hey, those habits produced some amazing dialogue, Aaron. Hopefully straightening out and dropping the nose candy doesn’t kill your mojo). It was the kind of stuff I wished -I’d- written, and I don’t say that about a lot.

There’s a scene in Californication season one where the main character, Hank, has started a blog, and he addresses everyone as ‘My Little Lotus Eaters’. I never thought about it much until I rewatched the season just a couple months back, and that particular line zinged me. There was clearly something there that I didn’t understand, so I did some TOTALLY LEGIT INTERWEBS RESEARCH (hai Wikipedia), and found out that the Lotus-Eaters are a Greek mythology thing. Score! I love Greek myths. Apparently they were residents of an island who ate so many lotus fruits they grew sleepy and apathetic to everything in life. Mention of the lotus-eaters pops up in the tale of Odysseus, whose men dock at Lotus Island to restock their supplies after nine days at sea. The sailors begin to eat the lotus fruits, and grow utterly listless regarding their returns home. Odysseus drags their drugged-up asses back to the ship and gets them out of there pronto so they don’t fall into a Purple Haze.

You’ll also find mentions of lotus-eaters in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poetry and James Joyce’s Ulysses.

I thought it was kind of apropos that my first venture into ‘looking up shit I didn’t understand’ resulted in the lotus-eaters thing. I mean, up until that point I was sorta acting that way about my ignorance. “WHO CARES IF I’M NOT IN THE KNOW ABOUT STUFF. I KNOW OTHER STUFF. IT’S COOL, RIGHT?” No. No it’s not cool. So now I like to think I’ve changed it up, that I do my due diligence and fill in the blanks. I challenge everyone to stop being lotus-eaters and to start using that big pile of pulsating brain matter in your skulls, too. You never know what you’ll stumble across, and when and how that new knowledge will behoove you.