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Archive for April, 2011

Royal Ruminating

I remember the wedding of Diana and Charles. Many of my then-twenty-something friends gushed with delight over her dress, jewels, her royal carriage… not many gushed over her prince, but most grooms tend to get lost in the ceremony.

And what a ceremony it was. I’ve had three and if you add all of mine together, I probably spent less than whatever it cost Diana to get her nails done that day. For the price of Kate’s ring, I could have gotten married three more times AND have a fully funded retirement plan.

In 1981, the date of Diana’s wedding, I’d been married to my first husband for a little over two years. When we were wed, I chose a dress I could wear to work later and the ceremony was held in a gazebo in a city park in  Abilene, Texas. I thought finding a gazebo in which to hold the ceremony was very romantic. By the time the royal wedding rolled around, I wasn’t jealous of the glitz and glamor of the day as much as I was of the fact that at least Diana wouldn’t have  a mother-in-law who would buy her brown golf shirts at garage sales and expect her to wear them.  Queen Elizabeth seemed cool compared to my mother-in-law, although I bet she didn’t bake a to-die-for apple pie.

For my second wedding, I decided to go all out. I spent $27 on a secondhand wedding dress at a consignment shop and rented out a hotel ballroom for a reception. I thought that paying more attention to doing the wedding “right” would make the marriage right. It didn’t, but it was fun to make all my friends get gussied up and attempt to use proper manners for the day. Groom #2 and I could afford this fanciful dream wedding because I agreed to a cubic zirconium engagement ring. Needless to say, there wasn’t a prenup.

#3 happened in a bar at noon on Friday the 13th. I wore a miniskirt and had a newly inked tattoo. Despite the fact that I had “reserved” the bar, there were two drunks on stools watching the nuptials. I tried to get a ladder to walk under and a black cat to jump on me during the ceremony, but it wasn’t in the budget. My wedding bar has now been razed and there’s a TJ Maxx there. As far as I can tell, my last ceremony took place in the boy’s underwear department.

I won’t be glued to my set when Kate and William say “I royally do,” but I’m sure I’ll catch snippets of the ceremony as I try to find out who’s in and who’s out on American Idol. I wish the royal couple all the good luck in the world. Even a wedding that took a small army to plan and a larger one to implement is a breeze compared what happens after. But if Kate still needs something borrowed, I may still have that miniskirt in my closet because I heard it’s good luck to hold on to your wedding gown.

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She Don’t Talk Much, Do She?

While waiting for Big Bang Theory to come on television last night, I channel surfed. It’s my form of meditating — cat food commercial, ommm, Viagra ad, ommm, Shark Week teaser, ommm. If not for the dogs struggling to find the most comfortable spot on my lap, I might have reached nirvana.

My attention was suddenly yanked out of peace and harmony and into “Ah, come on!” when the remote control landed on an interview with a man living with a synthetic life size gyno-doll. I think that’s what he called it. I’m afraid to Google it because I can just the types of spam mail that would fill my mailbox as a result.

Now I’m all for getting your freak on. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my mumbled-something years on this earth it’s that even the most “normal” looking and behaving people have some kind of deep dark weirdness that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your toenails curl if you knew what it was. In fact, I think it’s often the normal looking and behaving who are the scariest under the surface.

What struck me most was not that this guy lived with an anatomically correct (his words, not mine, as I’m quite sure she didn’t have a uterus or a gallbladder) plastic replica of a woman. It wasn’t that he referred to her as his girlfriend. It wasn’t that he dressed her in clothes from Goodwill and took photos of her. It wasn’t even that he expected his friends who visited him to have conversations with her.

No, the only thing that made my feathers ruffle (and knit themselves into a blanket under which I wanted to hide) was when he told his therapist that he liked his doll because “she doesn’t talk back.”

I guess that is the problem with us women — we tend to have our own opinions and due to our verbal superiority we often want to express them. If you tell us to put on the purple wig and matching teddy and stand in the front window, we’ might  talk back. “You put on the purple wig and teddy” jumps to my mind right away. As does “Did your mother breast feed you too long?” and “There’s the door, you freak of nature.”

But then, I am a mouthy broad. Clearly when it comes to women who will soon be replaced by gyno dolls, I’m at the top of the list.

Trickle Up

Trickle down doesn’t work except when it comes to peeing.

I’ve been on the downward slope of the economic trickle my entire life and although I feel a little damp, my bank account continues to gasp for oxygen.

It’s not that I don’t get the theory — I have a minor in economics for heaven’s sakes (it’s what we math geeks who didn’t do drugs in the late 70s did for fun). But when I studied economics there was no trickle down theory. It was created during the Reagan Administration by a bunch of rich white guys who were ticked off by the cliche, “You can’t take it with you” and determined to prove it wrong.

My two dogs love to hang out at my feet when I’m eating because they know that I will spill a crumb or two and they will score some extra treats. But I still have to feed them. If they had to exist solely on my hummus and tofu residue, they’d be thin enough to make it big in Hollywood. That’s exactly how trickle down has worked.

On Monday on the front page of my local paper was a story headlined “Tough Times for United Way” that detailed declining donations because people are too financially strapped to give as they have in past years. Next to this  was a brief news item about a local golf course planning to invest $5.2 million to transform its driving range into a “true practice facility.” Yep, trickle down is working just fine. At least three new ball-retrieving jobs may be added, woo-hoo!

Today, a story about proposed cuts in federal programs for the poor and the environment was juxtaposed next to a brief on the need for the U.S. to continue supplying military support in Libya and a story on the $180,000 starting salary our the new incoming school district superintendent. Can you feel the trickle down coming your way?

And lets just say we add to the mix the recent news that GE paid no taxes in the U.S. for the past several years and the outrageous sums of money Charlie Sheen was being paid for his tiger blood on Two and a Half Men before his crazy got too crazy.

It all just begs the question, “What kind of s#%t are people smoking?”

I have my own theory that explains why Americans aren’t taking to the streets and insisting things change. I call it the CFFT or cheap fast food theory. There have been a lot of questions lately about why Americans have become so fat and sedentary. I’ll tell you why: because the best way to prevent an uprising is make to sure the people who are being trickled on the most (or the least, depending upon whether we’re talking money or pee) are too obese to leave their sofa.

I say it’s time to stop stuffing ourselves with fast food and insist the government try trickle up for awhile. Give all the people who can’t afford to feed themselves and their families $250,000 each and see how it goes. It can’t possibly be any worse than what we’ve been doing.

What’s in a name? Trouble!

Just call me Candy

In my next life, I’m going to go by one short name. I’m thinking Joy or Candy (the latter in case in my next life I have to make a living selling chocolate door-to-door. Or stripping.)

Having just gotten off the phone with a customer service rep for my new insurance, I can report to you just how frustrating it is to have a name that doesn’t conform to standards the computerized world expects. For example, I am not supposed to have a first name with a space in it. Computers cannot accept this. They can win at Jeopardy and calculate how much weight you’re going to gain from having just eaten an entire box of mac & cheese, but you throw a blank space into the mix and it freaks them out. They curl up in the fetal position and cry out for their motherboards.

My first name is Leigh Anne. Not first name Leigh, middle name Anne or one long Leighanne or even Leann as the digital world would like to force me to accept. I’ve been Leigh Anne since day one and it’s the only part of my name that hasn’t yet changed numerous times; I’d like to keep it that way. People seem okay with this, once I tell them how to spell it. It’s the machines that balk.

My series of last names is also a problem. I have four of them — the one I started with and three I married into and foolishly took as my own. But when you start out life as a “Grover” and are taunted by “Red rover, red rover, send Grover right over” from 2nd grade, you’ll accept any new name, as long as nothing rhymes with it. Had I met a guy named Quixote, I’d have taken his name in a flash.

It was my last marriage, the one that involved the hyphen that threw a real monkey wrench into the works. The computers in the state of Oregon don’t acknowledge a hyphen, so my driver’s license just runs my last two ex-husband’s last names together. The federal government, however, insists on the hyphen. So any time I have two show two pieces of documentation I’m screwed. Credit card company computers apparently have a letter quota and I exceed it. They often only let me have my first name or three-quarters of the last one. I do appreciate all the extra patting down at the airport, but when it comes to buying things on credit, I get all the frustration with none of the feeling-up.

It costs over $150 to change my last name back to any of the previous versions. I never seem to have a spare $150 on me, so perhaps I should have a fundraiser and set out some jars at local stores and restaurants: “Help Leigh Anne avoid being audited or flagged as a terrorist.” Meanwhile, I’m just going to start calling myself Candy.