Tag Archives: stupid

French Kiss First, Introductions Later.


Welcome to California.

golden_gate_bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

If all your contact with the outside world is mass media, or, say, you’re an alien from space, seeking information about earth, and your research dart on the globe hit the USA, and you began, sensibly enough, with mass media –you would surely presume the only places IN America were…

New York, and California.

Because EVERYTHING on television, in movies, etc., is located in: you guessed it. NY or CA.

Naturally, when the opportunity flung itself like a blob of goo to head west with my two daughters to the flipside of mainland America, I figured: hmm? Why not see life as the extraterrestrials – I mean, Californians – do?

I kid, I KID.

Actually, this time I DO kid, because if you happen to be reading this…

WAIT.

Don’t you just HATE when writers write: “If you happen to be reading this?

Talk about “author intrusion,”* which, of course, I’m doing now in a MAJOR way, but for some reason, I am egomaniacal enough – or feel strongly enough about this point – to have the nerve to think I can get away with it.

Duh. Of COURSE you happen to be reading this; if you WEREN’T reading this, you wouldn’t be READING this: the author’s SENTENCE that says, so very stupidly, “if you happen to be reading this.”

Why THANK you, Captain OBVIOUS.

(How do you spell “AAUGHHH?”)

I can’t STAND it when people don’t give other people the credit for the most BASIC intelligence. Or when they refuse to exhibit the most basic intelligence of their own, and simply swallow and regurgitate clichés.

Sorry. That’s just not thinking “out of the box.”

(That’s a joke. I am SO hoping you all got that….)

::-::-::

Anyway, tirade over, now that I’ve “intruded,” my job as a writer now is to suck you so hard back into the work that you forget about me again. So: forget me, move on without me, save yourselves….

To get back to Californians: if you’ve been wondering where all the nice people in the world have gone; if you’ve lost your faith in humanity, you’ve been betrayed, you can’t seem to find a kind soul in a cold-hearted world, no matter where you look…

<can you hear the swelling orchestral strings…?>

Get your ass to northern California.

InvaderZimWthoutStripesSomeone, I don’t know who – Invader Zim?

…has scooped them all up in a giant net and deposited them HERE.

Of course, the New Yorker in me wants to warn you: I’ve only been here a few weeks, so they COULD be putting on an devastatingly good show (California, Hollywood, Oscar…), and I SHOULD keep checking my back for knives…

But honestly, if these folks aren’t genuinely nice, then I’ve landed where Ira Levin got his idea for The Stepford Wives, because everybody – and I do mean everybody – walks around with a light step, a friendly smile, and an open outlook.

This is either the Cosmic Galactic Nexus of Benevolence, or these folks are gobsmackingly realistic test robots for Disneyland’s newest animatronic attraction.

They’re cheerful and concerned for others in a state with a bigger unemployment problem and more housing foreclosures than New York.

And, unlike New York – and particularly unlike, say…oooh, I dunno, GEORGIA, they are warm and inviting to strangers. Even strangers who come from scary and disreputable places like New York. No one here has prejudged us at all.

oscar-wilde-ph

Oscar Wilde

(At least not to our faces, where it counts. As far as I’m concerned, I’m with Oscar Wilde. Let people say whatever they want behind my back; I’ll worry when they STOP talking.)

These folks are even charming and positive in an area located less than – well, my guess would be, less then twelve inches from the Sun.

I can’t seem to figure it out. We aren’t any closer to the equator (although maybe we’re WAYYYY higher. As in, we’re astronauts. Californunauts.)

When they say “sunny California,” they aren’t just whistling Dixie.

(Side note: having made a side trip on the way to visit family in Rocky Plains, Georgia, I know what I’m talking about when I say “Dixie,” too.)

The sun is so strong here I carry a bottle of water around with me nearly everywhere I go, wishing I could haul a tank around, like someone on oxygen. I never realized what a deliciously humid state New York actually was.

oldwomanSomeone PLEASE let me know what moisturizing cream I need. I’m going to look about 45 years old in about 45 minutes. In another 45, I’ll look 90. As it is, the jar that used to last me six months is half gone.

In fact, Californians are SO friendly, that in a recent trip to a music store (I was rescuing a guitar I’d discovered that had been criminally abused) I got to joking with the owner, who began to tease me – and then somehow, things got a little weird.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably caught on: I’m not someone you want to DARE.

Play chicken with me? You’re pretty much guaranteed two totaled cars.

So when I jokingly said: “Well, then, I’ll just have to get one big, fat, sloppy kiss,” never in a million years thinking he would take me up on it – for no one in their right mind in New York would take that phrase as ANYTHING but, er, symbolic, when the music store owner said something along the lines of me not having the nerve…

… Well, what could I do? Apparently, he was calling my bluff – or thought I was bluffing. I had my entire state’s reputation to defend.

It was only later, perusing my copy of The Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual, that I remembered that those of us with a little too much tomboy in them have to be wary of dares and the like, and that boys will steal kisses when they can, particularly from impulsive redheads.

So I called his bluff back, and dashed over boldly right behind his workspace, again, never dreaming his own oncoming car would not swerve.

Yet swerve he did NOT, and put his arms around me, and kissed me like Bogart kissed Bergman in Casablanca.

Yipes.

Careful to keep my New York cool, I then shook his hand and said:

“How do you do? I’m Elizabeth. And your name is?”

“Larry,” he said. “Welcome to California.”

::-::-::-::-::-::

Author Intrusion (also sometimes called, literarily, “authorial intrusion” – I don’t know why they like the extra two syllables, but professors sometimes do…) is explained nicely here, at about.com:

Have you ever read a book where the author suddenly jolted you out of the storyline with a comment that just doesn’t flow with the rest of the work? That’s an authorial intrusion. Sometimes it works, but only when it’s done by a master storyteller/writer.

Authorial intrusions are of substantial length (not just a brief aside in a novel) and they are addressed to you (the reader).

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The Top Five Lies an Honest Person Should Tell



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Lies, Lies....

Lies, Lies....

 

Consider yourself an honest person? Well, bully for you. That’s a very fine quality in a person – especially in a person who meets me, since I can typically spot a liar at twenty paces – moreover, I myself never lie as a general rule, since I have a memory like a broken sieve. To lie would be to deliberately place myself in harm’s way, since I would trip myself up too easily.

Did I say Greece? I meant Ireland. Yeah, that’s right. I was in IRELAND last Thursday. THAT’S why I couldn’t make your party. Yeah, big bagpipe convention. What… oh, yeah, I mean SCOTLAND.

See? I SUCK at lying. No, wait, that’s a lie right there. I’m actually a stellar liar; I could make you believe you were an alien from space, if I really wanted to, but I’m a sucky rememberer. You’d come to me, later, all wrapped in tinfoil, and when I laughed at you, you’d go all crestfallen on me: “But… but… you said…

Then I’d remember and go: “Oh, yeah, Andromeda Galaxy, that’s right. Whoops. Eh-heh…”

HOWEVER (I’m also a terrific digresser) to get to the main point here: SOMETIMES, it’s important to LIE. Because the worst kind of mean-hearted bully is the kind who tries to use “honesty” to hurt other people, to wit:

“I’m just being honest here. You DO look fat.”

Now come on. Is that EVER necessary? No. Lie, people, lie your asses off. If some friend of yours is stuffed into something that makes them look like Jones Pork Sausage, what the hey? They’re already out and dressed. It can’t be helped now. What they need NOW is CONFIDENCE to pull off the look.

Lies, delivered in the spirit of loving dishonesty, do just that.

#1 Your Haircut Looks Great.

Even if you can barely look without flinching, even if your eyeballs start to tear, you MUST manage this, because hair only grows so fast, and your friend/acquaintance/boss/mother now must live with this horror for at least a few long and terrible weeks.

“Is it bad?”

“NOOOOOOhhhhh,” is your answer, as enthusiastically as possible. Add a little primping touch of the hand, as if you can’t resist the touch of the prickly mess, if you can bear it. “It’s terrific. Only YOU could pull it off. It suits you so well!”

#2 No, it SO wasn’t you, it was them!

Your friend is devastated by the loss of a significant other. Perhaps, you, who have followed the drama and the saga, know for a fact that his or her giant chasm of need DID in fact, drive the poor bastard away screaming and babbling incoherently.

NOW is not the time for a personality review.

BAD: “Yeah, sweetie, it WAS you. Poor schmuck couldn’t take you following him to work, calling his cell every ten minutes, texting him every five, I mean, think about it, hon.”

GOOD: “Sweetie, he didn’t deserve you. You’re better off without him. Here: have another pint of Chunky Monkey.”

Later, perhaps, you can suggest counseling, or a good lawyer to deal with the Order of Protection.

#3 How old do I look?

Hang on, here, I have to stop laughing so I can type. Do I really need to spell this out for you folks? Is there anyone out there who really thinks they get some kind of cosmic points for guessing RIGHT?

I’ve seen this – mostly guys – smiling, as if someone’s going to hand them a fluffy carnival toy when they see a woman’s mouth drop open. “I got it, didn’t I? I’m right, aren’t I? You’re 40.”

I have actually said to guys that have done this: “Asshole.”

They’re completely oblivious to the idea that the woman with the mouth agape is struggling NOT to knock the block off the self-satisfied jackass.

Two very good rules to follow here.

Number one: refuse to guess. Claim it’s a policy of yours. This is, in fact, the safest way to go, and if you have the balls to ride it out, you’re good to go. 

Number two:
Part A: If, say, an obviously 50-ish person asks (and stupid, by the way, to ask in the first place), don’t be stupider and say “21.” Why is this stupid? Because it’s so clearly not true, it makes them think YOU think they’re SO old that you have to guess WAY too young to flatter them. It ends up insulting.

Hey – I didn’t say it made sense. I’m just giving you the skinny on how people think.

Part B: Instead, if you think you’re ANY good at guessing – and you best be DAMN good at guessing – take THAT age, and subtract 10-15.

THAT will make it seem real that you guessed wrong – and way under.

The very BEST way to flatter people about their age? If and when they mention the ages of their children, look SHOCKED and say: “I can’t believe you have kids that age. You don’t look old enough to have kids that age.”

That’s believable – and flattering. And it comes up naturally in conversation, and can make somebody’s DAY.

# 4. You’re right.

My grandfather used to say: “A man convinced against his will remains of the same opinion still.”

It’s up to you, here, folks, but personally? I don’t give a rat’s ass about whether most people KNOW I’m right, as long as I do.

For instance: you come across some hardcore goofball on the sidewalk – maybe wearing a sandwich board, proclaiming that he’s a taco.

You know, of course, that he is NOT a taco. Tacos, for those who do not know, don’t have faces, for one thing. Neither do they argue on streetcorners.

Believe it or not, there are some people who will waste valuable moments of their lives they will never get back, trying to convince the buffoon that he is, in fact, NOT a taco, but actually a living human being, and inedible for the most part, outside of a few cannibalistic rainforest dwellers. (Who probably will not wrap him in Mexican breadlike outer coatings and hot sauce.)

Why bother? You KNOW you’re right, he’s wrong, go on your merry way.

It’s so totally okay to be right and have no one know it but you. Even if said Taco Dude has a band of merry Taco Followers mocking you, calling you Dufus. Shrug, and move on to the next street corner, where perhaps you’ll find someone who thinks they’re a hamburger.

#5 This is delicious.

Even if what you’re served tastes like Dog Turd Pudding (see earlier post), if you’ve been the lucky recipient of free food and the free hospitality at someone’s home, however humble, you are unfortunately obliged to eat it.

Tip: your olfactory sense – that is, your nose – is connected to your taste buds. So if you can’t smell, you can’t taste. So breathe through your mouth and choke the Cream of Whatever down. Somehow.

BONUS LIE:

“Everything is going to be all right.”

Actually, this one isn’t a lie. My grandmother – the wife of previously mentioned grandfather – had a good saying, too: “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” So: no matter what ever happens to you, no matter how shitty, everything DOES end up all right in the end. The wheel turns, and daylight breaks again. So this one, once the cosmic shit storm passes, is the truth.

Keep it in mind. 

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Heroes: the Soap Opera



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My kids are into vampires. This, I believe, is mostly because of the extremely lengthy but otherwise compelling Twilight books by Stephanie Meyer, which portray these creatures of the night as good guys with super-powers, able to run really really fast, dodge bullets, leap tall buildings in a single bound…

You get the picture.

They want to BE vampires. They, of course, would never EVER feast upon the blood of mortals, like EVERY OTHER VAMPIRE story has it. MY kids would be TWILIGHT vampires.

In other words, they’d be superheroes.

Just like we ALL wanted to be when we were kids.

supermanlogo1Isn’t that still a favorite question – even as adults? “What would YOUR superpower be?” Because, of course, no fair hogging all the superpowers. There’s only ONE Superman, and he gets them all. Every OTHER superhero just gets ONE big superpower: The Flash is fast; the Green Lantern gets that ring thing he can do tricks with; Batman has brains, a good personal trainer and a giant bankroll; and Marvel plays it coolest of all: they have the Mutants, each of whom has some genetic fluke that gives them one and only one way-out cool thing they can do – and that thing almost always comes with a drawback, just to keep it real.

Rogue, of the X-Men, from Marvel Comics

Rogue, of the X-Men, from Marvel Comics

 

 

Rogue, of the X-Men, for instance: all she has to do is touch you and she’ll suck the life out of you. Try and mug HER in a back alley. The drawback? She can’t feel the touch of another human, or they’ll die on her. That’s gotta suck.

So when NBC came up with a series idea of a bunch of everyday mortal human beings suddenly springing into action with super-powers (one each, they played fair, although why it all happened at the same time they never DID explain), the little kid in me got as excited as I used to get when December came and all those stop-motion cartoons lined up the programming schedule. (“I wanna be a dentist…”)

Heroes. Whoa. How cool. Maybe it could STILL happen to me. I can still remember the night our family went to see the Michael Keaton Batman movie, and my sister’s boyfriend and I stayed up, jazzed, for hours that night, planning how we could do it – we really could, it was possible…

What a freakin’ disappointment this show is turning out to be.

They should be showing it during the day, instead, and calling it “As the Heroes Turn,” or “One Hero to Live,” or “General Heroes.” It’s become QUITE the soap opera. You hang on for a whole hour, watching them cast maudlin, moody glances, full of portent, at each other, then just as something is about to happen:

To Be Continued.

You can tell he's flying, see, because the buildings are so far away? See?

You can tell he's flying, because the buildings are so far away? See?

They must have laid off the special effects crew due to the hard times we’re all facing. Because even The Flying Senator? All we ever see of him now is him landing from a distance, with a sort of a swooshing sound.

 

It’s all Evil Plot now, to corral the innocent people who have superpowers, by sticking Hannibal Lechter-ish gas masks on them, orange jail jumpsuits, and put them Who-Knows-Where? We don’t know, because of course they always escape.

They scatter. They come together, cast moody glances at each other at temporary safe houses, then scatter again, to find another place to cast moody glances at each other.

The most common lines now are: “We’re stronger together than we are apart,” and “We must keep this a secret.” 

Okay: let’s see some strength. Let’s see you kick some bad guys.

But who are the bad guys, now? Even the superguy they started out with, who they wrote up REALLY scary in the first season, named Sylar, is iffy, now that we’re getting to know him. Sylar is the scariest because he’s unfair: all he has to do is come NEAR a superguy, and he absorbs their power: FOREVER. Wait: that’s more than one superpower.

Not fair. And scary. So he has EVERYBODY’s powers. And, I, having gotten annoyed, and missed a few episodes, observe now he’s a “shape-shifter,” which means he has that 1970s “Bionic Woman/Fill In Your Action Show of Choice” power of magically looking – and somehow SOUNDING (how they manipulate their larynx, too, these shape-shifters, is amazing) – like anyone else. Height, weight, shoe size, and everything.

I guess the Laws of Conservation of Mass go out the window in TV Land. Unless, maybe, if Sylar turns into a really short guy, he becomes as dense as kryptonite.

But what I really like about Sylar is his power to make his hair look really stupid.

Sylar, all glam, and Sylar, with silly hair.

Sylar, all glam, and Sylar, with silly hair.

Wonder Twin Powers, Unite!

Wonder Twin Powers, Unite!

Some of these superpowers, though, I never did understand. Like this woman, whose name I forget. She started out with a double in the mirror: super-strong – and evil. Then, somehow, this double came out of the mirror, and I’m not sure if her twin became good or evil, or merged back into her or not. Either way, it reminded me eerily of “Wonder Twin Powers: Unite!” Only without the plastic cereal bowl ring.

 

Ando - Hiro's sidekick, now superhero - hence the fist, I guess.

Ando - Hiro's sidekick, now superhero - hence the fist, I guess.

Hiro – ha, ha, hilarious name choice – and Ando, though – the two Japanese heroes – I love. Hiro has this extremely stubborn sense of honor, while Ando is just this regular guy, looking to get laid if possible, although Hiro can usually bring him around from the dark side. Somehow, though, during the period I missed, Hiro lost his power to stop time – which was one of the cooler powers – and Ando now has gained SOME power which I can’t for the life of me understand.

 

Looking SO much cooler than the nerd he is.  

 

Looking SO much cooler than the nerd he is.

 

And, to top it all off, they’re toting some SuperBaby, which belongs to yet another reluctant mind-reading hero, which they just delivered (no pun intended.) This mind-reading hero has taken on another power – and they made THIS fair – because the guy that HAD this power died, SO SOMEBODY needs to be able to have his eyes turn white and draw cartoons of the future.

He apparently sucks at it, though, because in the episodes I’ve seen, he JUST finishes his drawing – as in – “Wait – that’s us, getting arrested!” and the police barge in. So he really needs to work on his timing.

The problem with all this?

I’ll keep watching. Because after all, if I can’t BE a superhero, I’m still a sucker for any show about them. Especially flying. Because if you ask me? THAT’S what I want my superpower to be.

 

Think we can pull this off? Are you serious?

Think we can pull this off? Are you serious?

 

OK, NOW we're deadly serious. But for some reason, this cheerleader has a new team?

OK, NOW we're deadly serious. But for some reason, this cheerleader has a new team?

 

 

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Brainbone: Am I the monkey at the monolith?


picture-31I have a definite love-hate relationship with Facebook’s Brainbone. You know, the kind of love-hate relationship you have with someone who doesn’t even know you exist, like a random celebrity, a robot, or one of the bitchy popular girls from middle school.

You really WANT them to like you, for them to think you’re cool and smart, but on the other hand, you sort of want to swagger by and act like you don’t care, too.

Still, you can’t manage it. You attempt a swagger, but you end up stumbling over your bookbag as it falls off your shoulder when you try to fling your hair back, casually but ungracefully, incurring the laughter of the entire seventh grade class.

So that’s where love-hate gets you. Absolutely nowhere but your knee socks tangled in your bookbag straps, and your hair in your beet-red face.

Why doesn’t someone tell you out of the gate that you only get cool when you stop caring about being cool?

Oh. Wait. They do. Only it’s your stupid, retarded, dorky parents, so what the heck do THEY know? Especially when they put it this way:

If everyone else jumped off the Empire State Building, would you do it, too?

Which of course, in middle school, you absolutely would. No questions asked. If it were that, or being hideously embarrassed? Off the ledge you would sail, like a ground-bound dart.

That’s how Brainbone makes me feel.

It doesn’t help that growing up, my sisters and I each had labels plastered on us. Actual labels, practically, with “Hi, my name is” strips on them, only mine was: “The Smart One Who Plays Guitar Really Well.”

I have two sisters. Theirs read: “The Pretty One Who Sings Really Well” and “The Quiet Skinny One.”

This kept life fairly uncomplicated for my parents. Nice for them, but confusing for us, since all of us were fairly skinny, all of us were actually pretty, and the quiet one only SEEMED quiet because she was, for the most part, virtually ignored.

As far as musical talent “assignments” went, turns out the One Who Played Guitar could Also Sing Pretty Damn Well, Too, and the One Who Sang Rocked on Keyboards – and the Quiet One, to whom no one paid any Damn Attention To At All signed her own damn self up for piano lessons when she grew up and ALSO Rocked The House on the Good Old Piano, inspiring the mother with the label-maker to trade in said label maker for her OWN piano, with lessons to go with.

Ah, how much more comfortable life is without all that sticky label adhesive.

Yet another reason I get a frisson of horror whenever Facebook’s Brainbone application asks me if I want to show my Brainbone stats on Twitter, or my web site, or anywhere public at all.

Show my Brainbone stats? Are you kidding? Why not also show my weight? And record me Confessing my sins to my local parish priest, while I’m at it, as a global podcast?

(Presuming I ever actually WENT to Confession… “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been… er…. it’s been… well, Padre, I think it’s been since second grade – you know – when they MAKE you go, in order to get your First Holy Communion? I think THAT was the last time I made my Confession. Wait – wait – <<insert sound of me sailing like a cannon out of the booth>>)

Yeah, I’m about as likely to show my Brainbone stats as I am to show off my untidy living room to unexpected company. (Wait: I do that.) Okay – as I am to show off my untidy living room to my mother, unexpectedly.

Because here’s the thing: I never realized how deeply I internalized that whole “I’m the smart one” thing. Every time I get a Brainbone question wrong, I feel deeply rattled, as if I should know this, somehow. Why I think I should know which country the city of Timbuktu is in, I don’t know, but somehow, I do.

Why I feel smug when I guess right is another mystery. I know I only guessed randomly, but when Brainbone rewards me with an exuberant “That’s correct!” I still feel like: “Boo-yeah!” As if I really earned it, instead of throwing dice.

Because I’m stupid enough to still feel like “the Smart One.”

Even though according to my percentages (SEE, Brainbone? I’m GOOD at math!) I’m technically FAILING Brainbone.

And because of this, I relentlessly answer the “Day’s Question,” for the sole purpose of upping my percentage to AT LEAST a passing grade.

THEN – and ONLY THEN – would I dare display my stats.

Because then EVERYONE could see, that of course…

I’m the smart one.

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The REAL serpent in the garden


 

C'mon, you know you want to.

C'mon, you know you want to.

So the holidays are (sort of) over, and my 12-year-old and I are the only ones up and around, clunking about, kicking around holiday debris, enjoying some quality(?) time together, here, on this Saturday morning, around 10-ish, after Christmas.

 

I’m losing a little bit of patience, however, because I kind of thought we were past the baby-talk stage. Never did I talk to my kids in baby talk. I wanted them to learn to actually say “bottle,” not “bah-bah,” so that’s what I would say to them.

Therefore, they learned to speak, not babble, except for my youngest, who persisted in calling her older sister “Bluh-luh” for the longest time – a sound which doesn’t remotely resemble her true name, which begins with a vowel. Still, it helped – and I felt far less like a fool as I chatted endlessly and hopefully at strollers with belted-in droolers. Yeah, I’m really not a baby person. I just had them, and as I tell them both, I like them better and better the older they get.

I take my duty seriously, though, to teach them. Them, at least – not the whole world. The rest of the world, I simply catalog as stupid, smart or somewhere in between, and I tolerate both with equanimity and relative good humor. The stupid make good fodder for this blog. The smart entertain and teach me – though as I often remind my kids, anyone, however stupid, can teach you something.

Today, however, I felt obligated to teach my 12-year-old.

“Mom, where does ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper’ come from?”

Aghast at my own failing to instill any kind of background in the study of religion, however comparative, I was momentarily speechless. Doesn’t EVERYONE know that? Doesn’t everyone somehow assimilate the story of Cain and Abel?

Apparently not.

Having yanked the poor child out of religious education after she attempted to throw herself from a moving car, rather than endure the misery of Roman Catholic Confession, I realized my child was suffering from large gaps in her education.

“Honey, I’ll tell you what one of my favorite professors in college told me. No educated person has NOT read the entire Bible.”

“WHAT?” she gasped. “The whole THING?”

“Not at a single sitting, goof,” I laughed. “But fear not. It’s just a clump of small books, strung together. You don’t even have to read it in order.”

“Moooom…”

I turned stern. “It’s shorter than ‘Twilight.’ ”  Then I softened. “Come on. I’ll read some to you.”

We read the story of Cain and Abel, and then, for background, we started on the Creation story, which led to some trouble before I even cracked the first “Let there be light.”

I began to mutter something about “Creationists” equaling “lunatics,” forgetting completely that I was talking to someone I’d indoctrinated to have tolerance for all beliefs.

My lack of kindness for folks who ignore the colossal body of fossil records and massive scientific evidence in favor of a version of an earth being created that has trees springing up “bing-bing-bing” in a day really pissed her off.

That is, until I started reading it.

“Wait, Mom – a dome? God created the sky as a dome? So, what is that saying about the earth?”

“That it’s FLAT, honey.”

“So, how big is it supposed to be? And what’s beyond the dome?”

I pointed to the first paragraph. “The abyss, honey.”

We went on.

“A basin? Wait, Mom – the sea is a basin? Like a big bowl?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – sea monsters?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – Adam named all the animals? What, in English?”

“Well, no, wait, I don’t know. Maybe Aramaic.”

“What’s Aramaic?”

“An ancient language.”

She did get excited when the geography part started – when the river in Eden is described, and the Tigris and Euphrates are named. (She’s good at geography.)

The temptation of Eve, however, was unsettling. You see, a lot of misconceptions abound regarding that little tale – but if you read the book, as we did this morning, you learn a lot about who the snake really is.

Sure, it’s Eve who does the talking with the serpent – but it says right there in the book, Adam is with her the whole time. Does he speak up? Say anything like: “Eve – babe – is this really the best idea? Didn’t God say cheese it on that tree?” Does Adam step in front of her and say, “No thanks, leave my wife alone?”

No. The wuss does nothing except grab the apple and munch when it’s his turn.

It gets worse. When God, like an angry dad, comes strolling through the garden, where Adam and Eve are hiding behind a plant (literally), and says: “Hey! You kids, get out here. Who told you that you were naked?”

(At which point my daughter inserted: “Our EYES.”)

Adam, the rat, the snitch, the stoolie, the coward, puts his weak-ass little hand on his wife’s back and shoves her right under the bus. “SHE did it. She ate the apple, and SHE gave it to ME.”

So the Old Testament God, who is, if you notice, a rather moody thing, short-tempered and VERY big on vengeance, doles out THIS punishment:

You: woman – childbirth is going to SUCK.

You: man – no more plucking from the trees. Now you have to sweat and farm.

You: serpent – crawl on your belly, and everyone is going to hate you.

And He locks up the garden of Eden – because there’s one tree left He wants to make sure NOBODY gets a hold of: the Tree of Life. Eat that, and you’ll live forever.

God puts a revolving fiery sword and a band of cherubim at the gate. Nice. Keep in mind, when you hear cherubim, don’t think sweet little cherubs. Every single time an angel appears in sacred texts, the first thing they say isn’t what you see on the Lifetime Channel: “Hey, let me solve your problems.”

It’s: “Be not afraid.”

You think Twilight vampires are scary, exciting reading? Try the Bible. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a real page turner, that’s for sure.

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I’m with stupid.


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I'm with stupid. Thank goodness.

I

It takes someone really, really intelligent to pull off stupid.

I don’t mean your ordinary, garden-variety stupid — the kind of stupid I encounter like this:

Me, to my dog, Tucker:Arrêt. Assieds. Viens ici.” (Meaning, in informal French, “Stop. Sit down. Come here.” More about this later.*)

Onlooker (or is it “onlistener?”): “Your dog speaks French?”

Me: (struggling to restrain myself from flicking their head with my thumb and forefinger) “Well, he’s really terrible at correcting my French, I’ll say that much. But mostly he’s a good listener.”

Because dogs don’t speak ANYTHING, DUH.

So I don’t mean THAT kind of stupid. We’re all immersed in THAT kind of stupid everyday, and actually we can view it positively.

especially when we do something that makes us feel developmentally disabled, like struggle for an embarrassingly long time pushing on a door you’re supposed to pull, when you tuck your skirt into your pantyhose, or when some joker at the party ruins your joke by saying something annoying like “What do you mean you don’t remember the binomial theorem?”

especially when we do something that makes us feel developmentally disabled, like struggle for an embarrassingly long time pushing on a door you’re supposed to pull, when you tuck your skirt into your pantyhose, or when some joker at the party ruins your joke by saying something annoying like “What do you mean you don’t remember the binomial theorem?”

We can feel like geniuses, especially when we do something that makes us feel developmentally disabled, like struggle for an embarrassingly long time pushing on a door you’re supposed to pull, when you tuck your skirt into your pantyhose, or when some joker at the party ruins your joke by saying something annoying like “What do you mean you don’t remember the binomial theorem?”

Or worse, when you’re wasting time online and get sucked into those horrid IQ tests, and realize that you really aren’t even dull normal. (Why don’t I know the capital of Greenland? Did I ever? Do I need to? Does anyone else? Do they even, in Greenland?)

Still worse is when your nine-year-old comes to you with her math homework, and you — you, who began your own college career as a math major before you realized you didn’t have the imagination for it and became a writer instead — goggle at it, desperately turn the workbook upside-down in the hopes that perhaps that will help, and then feign a casual shrug, rationalize that you are encouraging their independence and say: “We learned math a different way when I was in fifth grade. I suggest you ask your teacher.”

Okay. So now that we’ve ruled out the kind of stupid I don’t mean, let’s talk about the kind of stupid I do mean.

I have enormous admiration for actors like Brenda Song, Suzanne Somers, and Ashton Kutcher, all of whom play, or have played, characters who are so dim they border on nearly retarded, were they to inhabit real life. It takes an extremely intelligent actor to pull that off.

You can tell, because less intelligent actors try to do it and it just doesn’t work. They actually ARE stupid, and it shows.  The jokes aren’t funny, the timing is off, the whole thing falls flat.

Two days ago, my older daughter, who is 12 going on 22, and I, were having a very funny exchange, making fun of each other because she is a golden blonde who dyes her hair red, and I am a redhead who dyes her hair blonde.

(I do this, not for the blonde thing, but because my naturally auburn hair grows in dark – but the very second I step into the sunlight – winter or summer – my hair lightens considerably, making it LOOK as if I color my hair. So I figured, what the heck, why not play?)

Hence, blonde jokes are inevitable. Now: my oldest has developed a rapier wit that leaves you bleeding before you even feel the knife. I’m funny, but her dad is funny too – in a very dry way. She’s gotten the best of both. She’s a colossus of brainy humor, and you NEVER see it coming.

I am at the stove, obediently cooking bacon for the girl, who is growing like a beanstalk and already towering like a willow over me. She is sitting on the kitchen island, swinging her long legs, sitting bolt upright, hands crossed over her chest, lips pursed.

“I don’t know if I can eat that,” she says, in a too-sweet voice. “Is bacon a meat?

Not quite catching on yet, I turn a head. “Boy, you really ARE blonde.”

“Well,” she continues, à la Valley Girl, “I’m re-evaluating my commitment to meatatarianism.”

I hop onto the stupid train with her. “Well, it’s a spiritual thing, you know. A real commitment has to last, you know, like, at least, like, a few hours, at least – you know?”

“Are you a vegetarian?” she asks, big blue eyes wide.

“I don’t know,” I respond helplessly.

She tilts a sympathetic head. “It’s Oh-Kay…” she says, extending the vowels, “everyone experiments sexually.”

I was gone after that. Not only was I flabbergasted that my 12-year-old could make such a clever joke, but I was delighted that she was intelligent enough to play stupid so very well.

* I speak French to my dog for two reasons: one, he is more intelligent than most humans, and once I taught him all the commands in English, he got bored, so I decided to reteach him everything in French. The other reason is that I don’t have anyone else to speak French to, so I speak French to him.

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Whack a Mobster, Waste Some Time. It’s Fun. Really.


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Elizabeth Williams Bushey is officially addicted to Mobsters

Elizabeth Williams Bushey is officially addicted to Mobsters

I am now officially addicted to Mobsters.

 

At least that’s what it’s said on my “status” indicator now for weeks on my “myspace” page. “Elizabeth is… “officially addicted to Mobsters.” Mood: “intense.”

This is NOT my fault. It is totally and completely the fault of Peter’s son, who sent me an invite to join the game. Ordinarily I avoid computer and video games like the plague, having once thrown my back out and been couch-ridden for two months. I became so obsessed with SuperMario Brothers that upon my recovery, I nearly had to join a 12-Step Program.

I tossed the Nintendo® and never looked back. I won’t even let my daughters have a PlayStation, or a Wii, or anything that connects to the television.

(They watch too much as it is; TV’s another problem of mine to avoid. I don’t watch TV – not out of snobbery, mind you: more like the 12-Step thing.

ANYTHING – no matter how stupid, like “America’s Top Model” – will suck me in and mesmerize me, so better that I never turn the darn thing on in the first place.)

My kids are lucky to own Nintendo® DS thingies, upon which they play games where they train pretend robot puppies, or inhabit virtual cities with avatars of themselves with blue or pink hair.

One game they play cracks me up – they HAVE to own a house, and they HAVE to pay a mortgage on it, so they HAVE to have a job. THERE’S a game worth playing, I think.

But Mobsters? I dunno.

 

My stats on Mobsters

My stats on Mobsters

My accomplishments on Mobsters are dubious. I received one badge for achieving Level 3 in one day. I shuddered; how much time was I spending on this addictive game, anyway?

 

Another badge I received was for growing my mob size to at least five members (we’re now 18 and growing.) Wasting my powers of charm and persuasion on a myspace game? When I’m collecting quarters for a loaf of bread for sandwiches?

Is this stupid?

Definitely.

Am I still playing it everyday?

Definitely.

 

My vehicles on Mobsters

My vehicles on Mobsters

In real life, I am mostly broke, being an artist who is a lot more concerned about the art than the business.

 

On Mobsters, I am rich. I own several vehicles, including three armored cars and some Bentleys. In real life, I have a minivan.

In my Mobster arena, I own all the weapons – in multiples – that it is possible to own.

In real life, I abhor the very thought of guns (although Dad, before he died, DID teach me how to shoot straight, and I

My weapons on Mobsters

My weapons on Mobsters

just learned that both my wacky sisters – and my far wackier Mom – are getting hardcore into weaponry; one sister is now collecting shotguns. Shudder.)

 

In general, I am a peaceful person. Wait, I take that back, in case Peter should read this. Okay, well maybe not totally peaceful – but when I DO get angry, I get over it very quickly, and in general, I always look for the gentle solution to any problem. Not only that, but I have very little tolerance for injustice, and both Peter and I tend to uphold the

More weapons on Mobsters

More weapons on Mobsters

rights of the underdog.

 

On Mobsters, I not only LOOK for fights, but I absolutely pick on those littler than I am. I seek them OUT.

Even my very Mobsters name is unlike me. I prefer to be called “Elizabeth” – when folks attempt to shorten it to “Liz,” (which makes my face want to scrunch up as if I’ve eaten vinegar-soaked lemons), I politely let them know my wishes: “It’s a few more syllables, but I’m worth it.”

In Mobster-land, I’m “lizrox.”

It all sort of reminds me of this one leather jacket I have. It’s my favorite, actually. For some reason, whenever I wear it, I feel just like Kate Beckinsale in the movie “Underworld” – you know, the one where she’s this really sexy, really tough superhero vampire?

I’m not a vampire. Or a superhero. But the jacket – especially when I zip it all the way up to the neck – makes me feel really sexy, and really tough – and although I’d never try to leap off a tall building or anything, or jump into a moving convertible, it kind of makes me feel as though I could.

Mostly, I just like to wear it on cool evenings when I’m out walking my big black dog, Tucker. Cool black leather jacket, cool black dog, cool chick.

Cool Mobster.

Guess you’re never too old for a little play pretend. And it’s not TOO much of a waste of time. After all, you run out of “stamina” and “energy” and “health” – and I, personally, tend to run out of money after just a few minutes of play at a time, and have to quit.

So since I’m not ACTUALLY whacking anyone really…

If you want to join my mob, add me as a friend.

http://myspace.com/lizwb 

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