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Posts Tagged ‘Pecking order’

Dear Karma,

Sometimes I don’t think you really are a bitch. But then there will be an experience that renews my faith in you.

I had one of those experiences this week.

Or rather, the troublesome 14 year old in my life did.

We shipped Dominic off to stay with cruise friends Patrick, Petra, Ryder and Mia so that Ryder and Dominic could be counselors at a summer camp together.

I didn’t hear from Dominic all week, so I checked in.

So I asked the head camp lady if he could come back in two weeks. She said she would love to have him, but didn’t have anything for him to do. No room on the schedule for him.

I’ve raised a resilient, motivated, intelligent child, right?

Not so fast.

He still has trouble following directions. When to get off the bus, for example.

Also, look at what he did to himself in a bike accident:

How? He was rooting around in his backpack while driving the bike instead of paying attention. The speed bump won.

Anyway, thank you, Karma, for avenging me. For all those times he drove/drives me crazy, thank you for sending a plague of toddlers.

You’re the best.

Back to believing,
Beth

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March of the Pensioners
Narrated by Morgan Freeman (of course)

Each day, a truly remarkable journey takes place. Dozens of elderly women — likely awake since before dawn — don their supportive bathing costumes, abandon the security of their single-level homes, and make the long trek to the YMCA for their life-changing morning ritual: water aerobics (i.e., boot camp).

The goal? To stave off or reverse the damage done by a penchant for butter and sedentary living.

These be-grayed specimens tumble into the water of the indoor pool, nattering incessantly about ungrateful and noisy offspring.

1950s perms encased in swim caps, liver-spotted skin cleansed by the chlorine — their leathery haunches strain to move through the water.

Intrepid cultural anthropologist and writer Beth C. — also a lover of butter — attempted to infiltrate their ranks.

The pack was immediately suspicious of this young whippersnapper. (“Young” is relative.)

The alpha female tried to warn her off with a series of loud barks. Beth responded with barks of her own, indicating she would not be intimidated.

Resolute, indomitable, driven by the overpowering urge to rediscover her long-lost abs, she was determined to stand her ground.

The journey was hazardous as the women eyed her as a predatory threat.

Yet, after many long weeks of delicate maneuvering, Beth finally was accepted into the pack. They greeted her by name. Asked about her recent vacation. Swapped phone numbers.

Beth felt vindicated. Acknowledged. And (thankfully) streamlined.

Her magical journey will continue three times a week as she becomes further enmeshed in the pack’s routine.

 

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Dear Trish the Chicken (RIP):

A former graduate student of mine (now friend) sent me a link to this article today, and I immediately thought of you. And missed you, of course.

You would have made a great gang leader. You had a strong personality and did not suffer fools. You were never too chicken (har har) to go anywhere. You also were very loyal to me alone, much to Eddie’s chagrin.

I feel sorry for the little fox in the story, but the idea of a chicken gang is hilarious.

Anyway, I hope you are having a ball tearing up the landscaping and pooping everywhere in the great coop in the sky.

Yours always,
Beth

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Dear Reader’s Digest,

Thank you for your efforts to empower women. I’m sure this title didn’t seem patronizing when you published this pamphlet in 1973 — 10 years behind the start of the second wave of feminism.

Now, though …

I’m surprised every chapter doesn’t just say, “Call a man.”

To be fair, it doesn’t ever say that, but there is a whiff of condescension. For example, in the “Starting difficulties” section of the “Six dilemmas with your car” chapter, the unnamed writer states:

If your car refuses to start, but the battery has enough power to crank the engine, you may not be using the correct starting procedure.

You must use your delicate lady feet to depress the accelerator.

To your credit, there is some great information in here. But let’s be honest: Not all men are handy, and not all women take to their fainting sofas when faced with an emergency.

Shock? Or Reader’s Digest’s expectations of a woman’s general nature?

A better title would have been the simple, “Guide to household emergencies.” Oh wait — you thought of that as you published a similar guide in the same year under that exact title. Why not call it, “Men’s guide to household emergencies?”

Anyway, lucky for us, the women’s guide is enhanced with these special illustrations:

You too can change a tire without damaging your manicure!

Yet no self-respecting woman (or man, for that matter) should heed your advice regarding toilet clogs:

Try reaching as far as possible into the toilet to dislodge the blockage.

Um … no.

My 1950s June Cleaver-style mom clearly found this guide useful, as it was one of the few things she kept. (She wasn’t particularly sentimental, and thankfully wasn’t a borderline hoarder like someone else I know.)

My mom always liked to be prepared. In fact, she tucked in the pages of your guide this clipping from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:

Note that the AJC did not select target audience gender. So that’s nice. And rather forward-thinking compared to you.

Anyway, thanks for providing amusement for me 45 years after publication.

Dying to get my mitts on the “men’s” version for comparison,
Beth

 

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Dear MTV Programming Honchos:

I was sick for days, but now I’m cured. You get the credit.

Without you, I moved slowly through the five stages of illness (yep, just like the stages of grief).

Denial
My throat is not sore. I’ve just been running my mouth too much.

Anger
I refuse to get sick.

Bargaining
Please, I can’t get sick right now. I have too much to do. I’ll take NyQuil tonight and be fine tomorrow.

Depression
Why now? Why me?

Acceptance
This is where you come in. I cancelled all plans and did what I should have done in the beginning: Curl up on the couch and binge-watch “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

Yes, y’all: Almost 10 years since the debut of “Jersey Shore,” but some things haven’t changed (including Pauly D‘s hair).

I’m your target audience. If it’s reality TV, I’ll watch it. As you know.

In case you gave the green light but stopped paying attention (and shame on you, if you did), let me recap my favorite episode of the marathon:

Ronnie was grinding on slop tarts all night, but in a 2018 development, there is Instagram evidence. His girlfriend isn’t answering the phone. He assumes she is pissed off at him. He finally gets her on the duck.She hasn’t seen the photos/videos and isn’t upset. He instigates a fight. The rest of the guys can’t believe it.

Then they act it out in the interview room like The Roots do “The Bachelor.

I’m on the edge of the couch, phlegm forgotten: Will they work it out? We’ll see when she comes to visit.

In the next episode, Deena crashes guys’ night out, gets drunk and starts falling like she does. Best line from Vinny, who did not want her to come with them:

“She’s a drunk little meatball. You have to contain her or she’s going to roll off the plate.”

I love this show. So much.

Trish, who stayed with us this weekend, was mortified.

Trish: How can you still be smart when you watch crap like this?

Me: It’s because of crap like this. It’s a palate cleanser!

So thank you, MTV people. I wouldn’t say I’m mint, but I’m not jacked hideous.

Yours in neutral,
Beth

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A summary of “Avengers: Infinity War”

Dear People of Earth Who Want to See “Avengers: Infinity War” But Didn’t See It On Opening Weekend:

I have thoughts about the movie, if you want to hear them. I’m just a regular person, not a movie critic. Here are some other disclaimers:

  • I’m not a DC fan. Sorry. Too dark. No humor. I fell asleep during “Batman vs. Superman” and didn’t feel like I missed anything. I refused to go with my family to see “Justice League.” I did like “Wonder Woman,” though.
  • I’ve seen all of the Marvel Universe movies. I wish Stan Lee were my grandfather. When my kids met him, I was the one breathing into a paper bag. As I do.
  • I love Thor, Loki, Iron Man and Bruce Banner (not the Hulk, though).
  • I don’t like Captain America, Bucky, Spider-Man, Vision and the Scarlet Witch. There: I said it.
  • I cannot get enough of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
  • I haven’t read any of the comic books.

All right. Now that I have all that out of the way so you know where I’m coming from, here are my thoughts:

1. The movie could have been subtitled, “How Thor Gets His Groove Back” or “The Trouble with Hulky” or “Call Me By My Superhero Name.” (And two of those could be six-word movie reviews.)

2. All the Avengers  (except two) got screen time — some more than others, of course. I’m satisfied.

3. I now like Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man much better. Shocking! (There’s a bit between Spider-Man and Star Lord — with side notes from Iron Man and Drax — that is brilliant.)

4. The best villains are the ones that have an understandable motive and some humanity. Thanos is a great villain.

5. There’s enough in this movie for five stand-alone movies (i.e., plenty going on, so don’t step out for popcorn or a wee).

6. If you haven’t seen any of the movies, you still will understand what is going on. You won’t pick up on some of the comments, but that’s OK.*

7. It’s funny. The best thing about the Avengers is the chemistry among them (and the resulting banter). The best scenes are the ones where characters meet other characters for the first time.

8. The ending is dark. Not really DC dark, but darker than usual.

9. BUT know that this isn’t over. There are more Avengers movies to come, so don’t freak out at the ending.

10. It’s worth the money (but it does make me want to go back and watch the first “Iron Man,” the first “Avengers” and the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” for all the character development and quotable lines).

Hope you enjoy it! I’d love to know what you think.
Beth

* If you’ve never seen prior movies, this will be me trying to explain:

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Dear Trish the Chicken,

It’s been eight years since your untimely death. I miss you on the reg, but never more so than yesterday.

I went to the Northwest Georgia Poultry Club show in Calhoun, Georgia — an hour northish of where we live now.

By myself.

For no reason beyond curiosity.

I did feel out of place, though. For example, I drive a Volkswagen, not something like this:

 

Also, I wasn’t wearing camouflage. (An oversight, really. I do own plenty of camo and a general affinity for rednecks.)

The show made me miss you so much, and also miss having a house where we could have chickens. Look at your beautiful brethren!

This looks like some kind of dog!

I thought the sign said “bitchen” at first, and I thought, “Yes, that is a bitchen’ chicken.”

Look at this handsome specimen!

She’s got legs, and knows how to use them.

What a beautiful bird.

This face!

As I am mostly a “city girl,” it’s hard for me to understand some customs. For example, why is one of the judges wearing a Clinique consultant coat and the other is wearing an apron?

Let’s review your skin care regimen.

The apron on the guy on the left says, “Judge.” It makes me fear for the losers of the competition.

The contestants were vying for these trophies. And perhaps the hand sanitizer as well.

And the title of Champion Cock.

These were the sights. You can imagine the smells. Here are the sounds:

Finally, thanks to the onsite Tabernacle of Praise, I was able to say a little prayer for you.

Anyway, it was an interesting Saturday morning.

And I still miss you.

Love always,
Beth

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