Posts Tagged ‘Pecking order’

EPISODE 3: Rated PG-13 for Near Nudity and Coarse Language


Two groups of six HARDBODIES each have taken over two corners of the pool. The scent of testosterone is more pungent than chlorine. TWO OTHER COUPLES lounge at the other corners. Each couple basks in the Atlanta sun, oiled up like Thanksgiving turkeys.

DOMINIC and GIDEON and THEIR LESS-SWOLLEN-AND-RASHY MOTHER enter the pool area. They are joined by FATHER, no less a hardbody than the 12 mentioned above. However, the appearance of MOTHER and FATHER in the pool area raises the median age by at least 15 years.

MOTHER and FATHER survey the pool area with dismay. BLINDINGLY WHITE MOTHER needs shade.* They head to the covered area with the plush furniture. DOMINIC and GIDEON are reluctant to get in the water with so many people there (i.e., potential victims for which they will get in trouble for splashing). They sit on the plush furniture and contemplate their next moves.

HARDBODY GROUP NO. 1 starts talking about leaving to go to dinner.

I’m down for whatever.

We should eat. They are expecting us there by 7.

I’m down for whatever.

I could eat. Should we go get pizza?

I’m down for whatever.


Conversation amount and volume increase within HARDBODY GROUP NO. 2 out of earshot of MOTHER. They exit.

DOMINIC and GIDEON jump into the pool. FATHER goes to work out (of course). MOTHER sips her beer and pretends to read about TRUMP in The New Yorker (but really just looks at the cartoons).

SPLASHING commences.

MOTHER spots BASTED TURKEY LADY NO. 1 looking around the pool as if to say, “Where are these children’s parents?” She murmurs disapproval to BASTED TURKEY MAN NO. 1. MOTHER sits calmly waiting for THE BASTEDS NO. 1 to see her. BASTED LADY finally does. Her pinched, angry face relaxes slightly.

TWO RUBENESQUE WOMEN carrying large floats, a massive bag of Outback takeout, and an also-oversized speaker enter the pool area. They commence eating. After their meal, they remove their cover-ups to get into the pool. RUBENS NO. 1 is wearing a bathing suit with a keyhole cleavage opening in the front. There is at least a foot of cleavage.

SMALLER-BREASTED MOTHER wonders if she is breaking a rule by not being busty in the pool area, as large teats appear to be the norm.

FATHER returns from his alone time in the gym.

Despite the fact that music already is playing over the speakers in the pool area, RUBENS NO. 2 begins to play loud hip-hop music on her speaker.

F— them! F— her! The b—- can s— my d—! (and similar).

FATHER and MOTHER look at each other in alarm. Such language is to be heard in the privacy of the home via the many action movies they like to watch as a family. It certainly cannot be heard out in the wild. They are outraged. FATHER and MOTHER give the RUBENS TWINS pointed looks. RUBENS NO. 1 notices their distress and nudges RUBENS NO. 2, who changes the song.

MOTHER and FATHER run out of beer in the cooler. MOTHER decides it is time to go make dinner.

She exits.

Moments later, FATHER, DOMINIC and GIDEON exit.



*EXTREMELY PALE MOTHER visited the Dominican Republic last year on a cruise. She put on 50 SPF, a one-piece bathing suit plus hat and cover-up. She stayed in the shade of a building all day and STILL got burned. On her stomach. True story.


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Dear Ms. K.,

I received this email from you at 1:12 a.m. today. Have we met? Your name does not sound familiar. A quick search of Facebook revealed your account. We are not friends, so I’m not sure why I am on your mailing list.

I don’t want to keep you hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for my reply, so here it is:


And not only no, but hell no.

While I was on your FB page seeing if we had any friends in common, I found this:


And this:


And, DEAR GOD, this:


It’s clear we are not on the same page about how to make “Amarica” great again. (“Again” implies there was a time when we were better than we are now. When exactly was that? Based on the information you posted publicly, I’m guessing you believe it is when slavery was A-OK.)

This is a “no trainer” for me.

You stay in your basket, and I’ll stay in mine.

Most sincerely,

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danteDear Dante Alighieri:

First off, let me say that I love your work. My favorite isThe Divine Comedy,” with particular love for the “Inferno” part. I am an orderly person, so I gravitate to categories. The nine circles of Hell speak to me and my Type A personality.

I went on a work trip last week, and I’d like to add people to the circles, if I may.

Candidate: People who meander in the middle of the airport concourse, weaving side to side and making it difficult to walk around them
Circle of Hell: First circle — limbo (or maybe the vestibule — land of the indecisive)

Candidate: That guy in the bar who won’t let you have a drink in peace
Circle of Hell:
Second circle — lust

Candidate: People who stand in the middle of the moving sidewalk when they clearly should move to the right to allow people to pass
Circle of Hell: Third circle — gluttony

Candidate: People who take up the airplane arm rest immediately upon sitting
Circle of Hell: Fourth circle — greed

Candidate: People who take up seats with their bags in the airport gate area and look at you sullenly if you dare to ask to sit
Circle of Hell: Fifth circle — anger

Candidate: People who put their feet on their airplane tray tables
Circle of Hell: Sixth circle — heresy (because EWW!)

Candidate: People who are unaware of the circumference of their backpacks
Circle of Hell: Seventh circle — violence

Candidate: People who try to get on the plane when their zone has not been called yet
Circle of Hell: Eighth circle — fraud

Candidate: The pilot who wants to tell you too much about the flight when you just want to watch the movie
Circle of Hell: Ninth circle — treachery [Listen, Captain: You do your job (flying), and I’ll do mine (resting).]

Like I said, I appreciate order. I need these people to get it together or go to (their circles of) Hell.

Thank you, Mr. Alighieri, for considering my suggestions.

(Wait … What’s that? I’m a candidate for at least three circles, you say? No … )

Yours in boiling blood and fire,


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imageDear Dominic:

This was your first week of school, but I’m the one who learned a lesson.

When we were shopping for last-minute school supplies, I gave you a little bit of a hard time when you wanted a pink binder. I said, “You are going to a new school. Are you sure you want to call attention to yourself and be the kid with the pink binder?”

You put me in my place — rightfully so. You said, “It’s just a color, and I like it. If the other kids don’t like it, that’s their problem.”

You are so right. You are wise beyond your 11 years. I was wrong. I apologize.

My knee-jerk reaction was a leftover of my childhood days where we did what we needed to do to fit in so that we would not be a target for bullies. Pink was for girls then. That I didn’t like Barbies was my own dirty little secret.

Your father and I have raised you to be an individual, to be inclusive, to be kind to others, to like what you like and not be ashamed of it.

We’ve clearly taught you well.

I’m sorry I forgot those lessons for a beat.

I’m so proud of you.


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Dear Programming Executives at TLC, A&E, MTV, Bravo, Spike TV and Other Networks:

I just can’t thank you enough for your support of reality television. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with the genre. Just look:

That was a response to me talking about “Tabatha Takes Over,” one of the many shows I watch. I know they are all edited for maximum drama and effect. I don’t care.

Let others have their “Breaking Bad” and “True Blood.” Give me “Hoarders” and “Pawn Stars.” While many watch the antics of characters such as Dr. Gregory House and Sheldon Lee Cooper, I can’t get enough of Lieutenant Dennis Croft and Barry Weiss.

Title a show “Man with the 200 lb. tumor” or “Half-ton Dad,” and you can guarantee I’m clearing my schedule. In fact, tonight I’m going from a marathon of “Caught on Camera” into recordings of “Project Runway” straight into “Small Town Security.” And I’ve made plans to ogle Honey Boo Boo on Wednesday.

Yes, there are other things I should be doing, should be watching. And no, I won’t.

Why? Because truth is stranger than fiction. Give me “real” people any day.

Read what Cantonrep.com staff writer Charita Goshay wrote about reality TV. I love her; she gets it. And I think she and I should be friends.

Maybe you can do a reality show about us. Oh wait. You have one: “My Strange Addiction.”

Thanks all the same,

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Captain’s Log: Embarking into hostile environment. Kowalski! We’ll need to win the hearts and the minds of the natives. Rico! We’ll need special tactical equipment. We’re gonna face extreme peril. Private probably won’t survive.

Dear unemployed graduate of the university for which I work:

Congratulations on your achievement one month/one year/three years/10 years (choose one) ago! It is impressive that you were able to get through two years/four years/five years/eight years (choose one) of a degree program designed to help you earn a career, make money, and permanently move out of your old bedroom in your parents’ house.

(If you had a job and were laid off, you can stop reading. This post isn’t for you. It is for the never-employed graduate. Unless, of course, you need a tough-love pep talk. In that case, read on.)

By now, you might be blaming the university for the fact that you don’t yet have a job. Don’t. Let’s consider a few things that might be standing in your way:

1. You don’t have any experience.
A degree in your field is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t tell potential employers that you can actually do the work. You know what does tell them that? Work experience. No one should leave college without doing at least one internship. No internship? Do freelance work.

2. You haven’t been sending out enough (or any) letters, emails, résumés, etc.
You have to find the job; the job is not going to find you. You have to meet people, talk to people, write to people. You know, “network.” Put yourself out there. Ask professors for contacts. Go to conferences. Attend events in your field. Go to alumni meetings. Contact alumni in your field and ask for advice. Finding a job is a full-time job. Set hours. Get dressed for work. Work those set hours toward your goal. Then change into sweats, eat chips and watch “Game of Thrones.”

3. You have unreasonable expectations.
Your first job out of college is not likely to be your dream job. It likely will be an entry-level job that does not pay very much. Suck it up. Learn everything you can. Do extra work. Meet new people. Ask for advice. See No. 2. Condé Nast Traveler is not going give you a plum writing job right out of the gate, but you might get a position as assistant to the assistant to the marketing coordinator. All you need is a foot in the door. If you are competent, personable and motivated, you can work your way around. Everyone has to start somewhere.

4. You have a bad attitude.
Only one person is standing in the way of you finding a job. Go to a mirror. Look in it. That’s right. You have to do the work to find a job and have the right attitude while doing it. You want to complain about how hard it is? Do it in a private conversation with your mom. Show that you have the right work ethic by proofreading your résumé and cover letter, deleting those party photos from your Facebook page, and having a positive and professional public attitude at all times. Nobody wants to hire a drunk, lazy whiner. (And Facebook is public, people.) Talk the talk and walk the walk.

5. You blame the economy, the university, your parents, your professors, etc.

Reread the first part of No. 4. You earned an education. Your professors taught you everything they could within the university’s structure. If you were too busy sleeping through your 8 a.m. class, drinking whiskey with your roommates, bitching about how picky a professor is about grammar, etc., to pay attention in all your classes, it is a moot point now. You are a great white shark: If you don’t keep swimming forward, you will die. Live in the moment. And at this moment, you need to start researching companies, finding job openings, networking, submitting your résumé, and so on.

The world does not owe you a job. So go out there and take one from some other sad sack who does not have his/her act together like you do. Er … like you will. In the words of Aibileen, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Go get ’em, Tiger!


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Anyone can post postcard-perfect pictures. (And yes, I will too.) In the past two days, though, I’ve been more interested in capturing critters.

A puny French version of the late Trish the Chicken

Puny Trish has a friend.

A literal version of "pigeonholed"


From birds to beasties (the praying mantis, that is, not me)

There's a whelk on that there limestone! (Say that with a Southern accent, please.)

Flowers? No.


Apparently, if you put them in saltwater, the snails leave their shells. Then you put them on salad. Um ... yum?

Un escargot grand

Un escargot grand avec des amis

Next post: flora of France

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