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Like Belly Buttons

27 Jul

I’ve been thinking about arguments lately. Mostly I’ve been thinking about how horribly, tremendously, comically bad we are at arguing. Americans, I mean. We do so many things so well. The moon? Yeah, let’s go there. Coca Cola? Take that, communists! Adirondack chairs? Those are awesome. Then we are so magnificently, grandly, explosively bad at other things. Overstuffed camouflage furniture comes to mind. Why did that need to happen? My brother-in-law lives in The Hague. I can just about promise none of his neighbors have a camouflage recliner that holds beer, four remote controls, and a deep freeze. Although that’s probably because it’s really hard to ride a bike from Trendhopper back home with a giant microfiber marshmallow strapped to your back fender.

I did a really stupid thing last night. I read comments on a piece that my hometown news station ran about a candidate for county clerk pulling out of the race because he doesn’t want to give marriage licences to the LGBT community. One comment caught my eye because it started, “Is it just me, or…” True fact: anytime a sentence starts with that line, yes. It’s just you. I’m not excluding myself. “Is it just me, or does my kitchen look spotless?” Yup. Just me. Me and my delusions. We’re a happy family. 

One of my favorite chestnuts has always been the slippery slope fallacy. It’s like that book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. If you give a mouse a cookie, he will burn down your house, rape your dog, and steal your identity. Or something like that. I haven’t read the book in a long time. The “No REAL Christian” argument is just getting pathetic. No REAL Christian could believe that gay folks marrying each other, having equal rights, raising families, paying taxes, getting life insurance, and generally behaving like normal people could be what God wants. That then begs the question don’t we know God says being gay is wrong because God said so in the Bible and that’s the word of God? BUT if I say something like, oh, you get to believe whatever you want, but we’re talking about policy not religion, I am a sinner. Ergo, forthwith, and heretofore, I cannot POSSIBLY have a valid argument because I don’t go to church regularly/take the Lord’s name in vain/occasionally speed/insert other infraction here. AND FURTHER, you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny. Ad hominem…aaaand…scene.

Irrational arguments are a thing. We all make them. But we need to keep them among friends, not when deciding policy. There’s a scene in the classic movie Legally Blonde where Holland Taylor discusses Aristotle’s maxim, “The law is reason, free from passion.” Y’all it’s hard not to get all riled up about something you believe in passionately. You should hear Himself talk about his favorite hat. I can give you 492 reason pants are evil. And while I want to tell people who rally against GMOs that they are poopy heads, I go with, “First, tell me what you mean by GMO,” because insulin is a GMO and I don’t think you want to take away a diabetic’s medicine. Or maybe you do. In which case you ARE a poopy head.

We are starting to confuse shutting down an argument with winning one. Well, that’s just my opinion. I would like that phrase stricken from our collective discourse. You didn’t make a point by saying it’s your opinion. And opinions are different than facts.

*Blue is a color. That is fact.

*Blue is the best color. That is opinion.

*Blue sports drinks are a conspiracy between Monsanto and Proctor and Gamble to get us addicted to trimonosodiumglyotholateiseum which then makes our babies autistic and is responsible for the popularity of the Kardashians. That right there is some made-up bullshit. And while it’s nice to have something to blame for the Kardashians, that’s not it. And following that up with WELL, THAT’S MY OPINION does not make it any less bullshitty.

*Navy pumps for women are declining in popularity. Global temperatures are rising. The decline in navy footwear is causing global warming. THAT’S MY OPINION. ARE YOU SAYING MY OPINION IS WRONG?? I GET TO HAVE MY OWN OPINIONS. YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

I also am really over the whole this <insert product here> is full of chemicals! It will kill you! You need something natural! You know what’s natural? Sharks, bears, poison ivy, puffer fish, nightshade, and poke berries. They can all kill you. Just because something was grown out of dirt doesn’t make it safe anymore than creating something in a lab makes it dangerous.

Opinions are not fact. Legalizing marijuana will not make us all heroin addicts. Pharmaceuticals aren’t bad because they are made in labs. Just because I once answered a math question wrong doesn’t mean I can’t do math at all. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it false. I don’t understand Javascript, but that doesn’t mean it’s not powering this very website right now. (I do not know if it is powering this very website right now. I just said I don’t understand Java.)

Now, you must excuse me. I’m feeling a little tired so I’m going to ingest some coffea liberica mixed with dihyrdogen monoxide and possibly a prunus persica. I have to be careful because the pit of the prunus persica contains cyanide. In fact, I better eat two before they get banned.



My Theory Of Some Of It

18 Jun

I have this theory that if I spend a few hours a day thinking really hard, concentrating like orange juice, I can reduce the size of my butt. I figure that I’ll be expending energy with all that thinking and that it will be like exercise. Further, my theory states the fat will melt off my prodigious posterior and not, say, my delicate wrists, because I’m concentrating (like orange juice) specifically on my Buttfatt™.

Now, when I say “theory”, I mean like how your Uncle Merle has a theory about the gubment controlling the weather with contrails. I mean it in an idiomatic sense. I do not mean it scientifically. A scientific theory is different–vastly–from my grandmother’s theory that all weekend operators were bitter spinsters otherwise they wouldn’t be working the weekend. 

I also start many sentences with, “theoretically”. Like I’ll say to my beloved, “Theoretically, if you were going to poison me, where would you hide my body?” Or, “Theoretically, if a bear and a fox played rock paper scissors, would the bear always play paper and the fox always play scissors?”

Each time I use “theory” in those contexts, a scientist’s head explodes. In theory.

Here are two things I know about scientists:

  1. They don’t like girls.
  2. They hate it when you use “theory” to describe things like how you think Obama created Ebola in his bathroom lab.

Okay, so maybe only half that list is true for most scientists. The ones I know, anyway. Admittedly, I don’t know many because they tend to leave my presence when I say things like, “Have you ever wanted to mate a cockroach with a racoon?” Or, “Do you ever get really baked and play with mercury?”

In science, a theory is the interpretation of facts. Evidence is presented to support a hypothesis. It is tested and debated. It takes years, decades even. It’s not like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew wakes up, thinks, “Wow! I bet that if you bury a bunch of half-full [scientists are always optimists] paint cans in the earth, it might be bad!” Then he goes and fires off a paper to Important Science Stuff Monthly. And then everyone reads it and is all, OOOH! Yes, let’s make this the law of the land! THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!!

No one denies the sun shines on the earth at different times. That’s because of rotation and revolution and whatnot. Guess what? That whole business is a scientific theory. JUST LIKE EVOLUTION. JUST LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE.

And? Further? The Pope doesn’t need to be a scientist (even though the argument could be made he is) to advance the theory of climate change. Christians are supposed to be stewards of the earth. Dude gets it, I’ll give him that. At the end of the day, do you really believe releasing massive amounts of carbon monoxide into the air or burying petroleum-based products in the soil won’t harm our earth? Saying that Pope Francis shouldn’t have an opinion on global warming is ridiculous. What is the line that says it’s fine for him to interfere in a decision my doctor (a scientist) and I make about my reproductive health, but not about climate change?

People make me crazy. I have a theory they do it on purpose. Excuse me now. I seem to have misplaced my tinfoil hat.

Problems Sister and Stella-Rondo Never Had

26 Mar

I would like to take this day behind the barn and dispatch with it swiftly. I had to go to the post office. TWO post offices (posts office?), in fact. The first one was to pick up a package.

See, what had happened was I wasn’t wearing pants and I was on the phone with my bank. As one does. I couldn’t get to the door in time and didn’t get my package. My lovely postman rang several times because he’s obviously been there before and knows I’m often wiping Nutella off my face before I answer the door. Now, my friend Desi was a bit stumped at this because don’t all Southern ladies have bathrobes? Well, yeah, I reckon. But that never occurred to me, honestly.  Probably because my bank was calling to verify two very legitimate charges, which I appreciated since last year I had THREE different debit cards due to security breeches. Note to self, find another bank. Anyway, I was so stunned that they were actually like monitoring stuff that all I could do was kind of freeze in place, my phone in one hand, and my precious cargo being loaded back up and taken away.

Taken away to the depths of the Mendenhall Post Office. Where it could not be found. So. That should have been a sign, BUT OH NO! Did I heed said sign? No. No, I did not. For I am an idiot of the highest caliber. For various reasons, I needed a mailbox. So I’d gotten one online at a post office location that I preferred. I printed out everything the site told me, got all my ID (strangely, no one accepts one’s belly button as proof of birth), and trekked to Southern Avenue. BIG mistake. Let me just cut to the chase. By the time I got back in my car, I had no post office box and I was in tears.

By Billy Hathorn (National Portrait Gallery, public domain.) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


This is why EVERYTHING at the post office should be done by machines. Machines do not tell you things like it does not have to do what the website says. Machines do not tell you, “Y’all just don’t know. Y’all don’t know how to fill out a form. Y’all can’t come in here with stuff ain’t doing you no good.” This woman was the most heinous individual I have ever encountered, and I once got stuck in a KKK rally in Brandon, Mississippi. Truth. So I went and finished my errands, got home, canceled my mailbox online, and wrote a complaint that was, as my friend Dean says, pointed yet poignant. I know USPS doesn’t care.  I know nothing will be said to this woman, and even if it were, it wouldn’t matter. Some people are just toxic.

Over the years, I interviewed many people for many jobs, most of which dealt with the public in some form. There are a few guidelines I had when interviewing candidates.

  1.  Did the person smile? You honestly have NO IDEA how many people go into an interview for a customer service job and never smile. WHY would I want you as the face of my business? FAKE IT! If you aren’t looking at me like I’m Gary Collins and you’re Miss Alabama, this ain’t working.
  2. “The customer is always right” is a phrase that will NEVER get you hired. One, the customer is rarely right. Two, it doesn’t matter. Three, put a little elbow into your answers. Don’t give me trite crap I know isn’t true. Such as
  3. “I’m a people person.” Here’s who says that. People who hate people. I’m a people person. Never said I like people. Now, unless you truly are like Frankenstein’s monster and are MADE OF PEOPLE, leave that shit at home.
  4. “I love helping people.” Go work for Red Cross. We’re here to make money. People who say they love helping people are the ones who get busted shoveling extra bras into their friends’ shopping bags.
  5. “I’d just love to play in clothes/shoes/makeup/tablecloths/small appliances all day.” This ain’t Ronald’s playground. I’m paying you to work. If you happen to like it, great, but it’s NOT play. Unless you are telling me that you play the tuba in your spare time (which you fully understand will be nonexistent if you take this job), “play” should not be used in an interview.
  6. A customer service job is not the place to take out your revenge on the world. The customer is not your enemy, no matter what you may feel, think, and what your loss prevention manager tells you. If you’re telling me nothing but horror stories about service, I’m going to start to think YOU’RE the problem.
  7. A smooth transaction can change a person’s day. This is the honest to God truth. You can be having the worst day ever. Run in your hose. Zayn left One Direction. There’s a black fly in your chardonnay. But one joke from the woman at Freds about how those select-a-size towels probably have a Napoleon complex, and it looks a lot better.
  8. A terrible transaction can change a person’s day. This is the honest to God truth. You can be having the best day ever. You don’t have to wear pants. Black Sabbath decide to play your favorite neighborhood bar. Someone gives you something besides chardonnay. But one “I don’t have to do ANYTHING the website says,” and you are suspended between hopelessness and rage to the extant you both clutch your pearls AND say screw everything, go to Taco Bell, and binge on Netflix and remorse the rest of the day. Because
  9. PEOPLE SUCK. We all suck. We’re all egotistical, shallow, self-aggrandizing assholes. You know why Ghandi was a pacifist? He never had to stand on line at the DMV. He never had a toddler who decided to eat nothing but Gummi Bears for two weeks straight only to suddenly THROW A FIT AND FALL INTO IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WINN-DIXIE because HOW DARE YOU??? Did you not intuit that three seconds ago your toddler decided to HATE Gummi Bears and now only wants hot dogs with ketchup, in a bun, but the crust taken off, served on the YELLOW PLATE while you sing “The Bing Bong Song” from Peppa Pig???!!!

I know there isn’t anything nearly as trite as complaining about a government agency, but cliches are cliches because they’ve happened enough to be cliche. People with absolutely no power anywhere else in life will always try to create a superpower at work. When there are no consequences for actions, people do what we do. We act like jerks. I did cancel my order, I did write a complaint, and I know that nothing will change because I am the only one in this situation who was inconvenienced. No one else has a stake. It’s the post office, where else am I going to go? So I go get a mail drop. Still the USPS. What the woman wanted, she got. She wanted to tell someone no. She wanted to know–or act as if she knew–more than someone else because she has absolutely no power. People who throw fits and fall in them are no different from that toddler. And when we do that, we’re telling the other person, “YOU are responsible for my behavior,” rather than taking responsibility ourselves. Unfortunately, this woman today exercised her no-power with me. I don’t show emotion with this kind of deal. I don’t get loud. In fact, I get like Alec Baldwin quiet. I speak very distinctly. I ask how we’re going to fix this. Most of the time, it works and we all move on. Today? Not so much. Not only did we not fix the problem, she didn’t get to see me get upset. So we both lost.

Also? That package was missing two items.

In short, I hate everything. But you knew that.

My Gift Is My Blog And This One’s For You

10 Jun

gifting birdWhen did we stop giving and start gifting? Were we gifting before 2009? Was it before or after we turned “friend” into a verb? I can’t remember. I just know it drives me nuts, this gifting.

My Facebook feed has become populated with people who were gifted. And I don’t mean like they can do long division in their heads or could play Chopin in kindergarten (these two feats carry equal weight in my world). One person gushed about how she was gifted a beautiful peace lily. Nice. One woman had been gifted some homemade preserves. I like preserves. One woman was gifted a repurposed…you know what? It doesn’t matter a repurposed what. The fact “gifted” and “repurposed” were used in the same sentence by someone not demonstrating cheap summer crafts with bendy straws on the Today show was enough to make me remove her from my cocktail party list. (NOTE: My cocktail party list is totally fictional. Having a cocktail party would involve people. And cleaning the 472 cases of sparkling water and Dr. Pepper out of the dining room.)

When one gifts rather than gives, one makes it all about the giver. The recipient is just an innocent bystander forced to accept a vintage crying clown rendered in porcelain because it was fabulously kitschy. Had the recipient been given the sad clown, she might have thought, “Wow. My friend saw this and thought of me.  She must have remembered the conversation we had about my Aunt Mitty-June who collected porcelain clowns and how as a child I was simultaneously fascinated and petrified by them.” When the same friend is gifted, the conversation is more like the giver thinking, “I remember a story of something about clowns scaring the crap out of her. I’ll give her this Pagliacci figurine to show her I’m both cultured and an active listener. Plus no one else will be in on the joke so I’ll get to tell the whole story at the party.”  Ninety-five percent of all items bought to be gifted are bought at Anthropologie. True fact.

Gifting is selfish. Gifting is done by people who spend too much time on Pinterest and believe every occasion must be marked by giving out personalized cupcakes and renting a photo booth. If you’re being gifted, I can just about guarantee it’s by someone who doesn’t know how to change a tire. I have a firm policy of not making friends with anyone who can’t change a tire. It’s like trusting someone who has no tools. HOW CAN YOU BE FRIENDS WITH THAT PERSON? Who doesn’t need a screwdriver? Gifting is trendy. Gifting is the friend who wears a seersucker shorts suit and gold platform wedges. Giving is your friend who would smack you upside the head because a grown-ass, 45-year-old woman should know better.

It might be better to give than to receive. It certainly is if you’re on the receiving end of a set of placemats repurposed from your friend’s children’s juice box straws.

As I Was Saying…

9 Jun

tweet yallYeah, so didn’t make it back quite in the time frame I imagined. I’m just not going to get into why because it’s really just not that interesting. I mean, I know I’m not generally interesting anyway, but this is like hearing someone else’s dream not interesting. It’s like listening to someone describe a dress not interesting. Have you ever noticed that when someone describes what she’s going to wear, it never looks like you think it will? There’s a lot of that going on in my world.

And yet here I am. IT’S ALL FOR YOU, INTERWEBZ!

I just want to say that I hate spring. I mean, I hate summer more. Especially August. But summer is at least honest. You know you’re going to be miserable in summer. You know you’ll spend three months peeling your thighs off hot car seats. You know you’re going to shower three times a day because walking out to get the mail makes you sweat through your caftan. And your mailbox isn’t even at the road. You know there are bugs as big as toddlers that are just waiting patiently to suck the life out of you by biting your ankles…just like toddlers with wings, in fact.

No, I hate spring because it’s too damned optimistic. Spring is all about promise, but it’s like the promise of that pub with the sign “Free Beer Tomorrow”. And now we’re into June and it’s going to be 95° this week with 876% humidity. You know what that means? There’s nowhere for the sweat to go. So you spend a little time outside and you turn into a Syracuse salt potato but without the creamy interior. Spring is crafty like a ninja. One day you’re sweating your bippy off and the next day you’re digging for wool socks. One day everything’s all green and fluffy and the next day it’s like Colonel Kilgore decided he wanted to smell victory so everything’s charred.

Also in Memphis, as in much of this part of the world, the hotter it gets, the more we all start sounding like Blanche DuBois. The heat turns our brains syrupy and ridiculous memories start oozing out our ears so then we’re like Blanche DuBois at the end of the play. And we start using the term “branch water” too much.

I’m going to be writing more regularly this summer, although I’ll just tell you up front I’ve got some obligations that might make that more difficult in the immediate future. BUT DO NOT CRY, GENTLE READER. For just like bangs and STDs, you’re pretty much stuck with me from here on out.

The Year As I Saw It

21 Dec

Posting will be even lighter than normal for a while. I’m heavily medicated to make it through until the second week of January or so. Here are some of the most-read posts from 2012 and a couple I threw in just because it’s my blog and I get to do that.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

Things You Never Hear People Say About Movies

Things You Never Hear People Say About Movies

Why I Stand Up But Stay Quiet

Why I Stand Up But Stay Quiet

Pandora And The GPS Lady Walk Into A Bar

Pandora And The GPS Lady Walk Into A Bar

My Impression Of The Internet

My Impression Of The Internet

Bless Her Heart, She Just Doesn’t Know Any Better

More Like Fashion Backward

More Like Fashion Backward

Culinary Westerns

Culinary Westerns

Sex Gets A Brand Guru

Sex Gets A Brand Guru


Today’s Mood

8 Nov

…and yesterday’s, and probably tomorrow’s too.

Hammered Snot