My Week 119: Donut Store Memories, A Story Inspired by Eric McCormack

Thursday: Donut Store memories

coffee-with-cream-300x200

When I was in my first year of university, I worked in a donut store to pay for the next year’s tuition. It wasn’t the worst job in the world but the hours were long, and people tended to treat you as if you were inconsequential, or a target for their own frustrations, you know, like “I had a sh*tty day, so I’m going to yell at this poor donut girl for not giving me enough honeyglazed donut holes”. Still, the other girls were fun to work with, the donut maker was this sweet old German guy named Wolfy who would pretend to break a donut and then give it to you as a treat (well, he thought they were treats—we were all thoroughly sick to death of donuts), and the owner treated us really well. It was over thirty years ago but to this day, I still remember two specific customers for two very different reasons. The first was Norm, a guy in his 40s, with bright red hair and a red mustache. He drove a giant-ass Cadillac, and when we saw it pulling into the parking lot, we were all like, “Oh God, Norm’s here.” Then it was bargaining to see who would have to serve him. He would sit at the counter for hours, with his “tea”, a beverage which had to be made to very strict specifications—a quarter cup of hot water, three quarters milk, then drop the teabag in and take it out right away. It was never perfect, and he would instruct us over and over again, until finally the owner told us to just give him the milk and the pot of hot water and let him do it himself, and if he complained, (which he frequently did) she would deal with him. Norm was on disability and took a lot of narcotic pain meds for a back injury, and in retrospect, I think we were the only friends he had, since he spent the majority of each night with us.

(Addendum: Ken started reading this post and said, “Wait a minute! You only had TWO memorable customers?! Excuse me?” So I have to point out that Ken and his roommate used to come to the donut store once a week around closing time to buy the day-old donuts that we sold for $1 per dozen. This was long before we actually started dating, but yes, honey, you were very memorable.)

The second customer was Eric McCormack, the Canadian writer (not the “Will and Grace” actor of the same name), although I didn’t realize who he was until he’d been coming around for a while. He was quite well-known at the time—well, still is, having been nominated for the Governor-General’s Award, and is still publishing in his late 70s. At any rate, when I worked at the donut store, I didn’t know who he was, except that he was a really nice, silver-haired Scottish guy, who always ordered a large coffee “dooble dooble”, which is to say double cream and double sugar but with a Scottish accent. He did this regularly, and seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to know better. When I DID find out that he was the author of one of my favourite short story collections, “Inspecting The Vaults”, I was overcome in the way that only English Literature students can be. He was teaching at the local university so I got to know him a little bit from conversations at the donut store, and once, a few years later, I bumped into him at the grocery store and asked for his autograph, which he gave me with a bemused smile. Then a few years later, I was helping run a writing competition for students in my school board, and we needed a new fiction judge. I contacted him at the university, and reminded him that I was the donut store waitress slash grocery store stalker, and despite that, he graciously agreed to be a judge for the contest, a role he continued even when he moved to Kingston. Why am I telling you this? Because a couple of weeks ago, I had this bizarre dream where Eric and I were writing a story together. I don’t know why—I literally hadn’t thought of him in years, but there he was in my dream. We were brainstorming the plot of the story and came up with what we thought was a terrific first line. Then, randomly, we had to go into another room to finish the story, at which point in the dream I exclaimed, “I know how it ends!” I won’t tell you that right now, because I just wrote the story that I dreamed about, using the first line and the end, and filling in the gaps. So I guess Eric McCormack is my muse? Well, here’s to you, Eric—thanks for being in my subconscious with me:

 

Double Double

She’d always liked a man in a cowboy hat, she thought, trying not to stare at the man who had just now come into the diner. She couldn’t have helped but look up initially; the place was almost deserted, and the bell over the door had chimed in a jarring way when it opened, as if signalling something ominous. The restaurant itself was one of those side-of-the-highway service centre places, places for people on their way somewhere—or nowhere.

Cowboy hats reminded her of her father, and she could never see someone wearing one without immediately thinking of him, his blue eyes crinkled with laughter, beer in hand, making a clever joke and not yet slurring his words. He always wore one when he went out, incongruous as it was with his upbringing, background, and career. He wasn’t a cowboy, wasn’t even a farmer; he was a bricklayer, among other things, things which he took on when brick work was scarce. Or when he’d lost yet another job. Still, he always managed to pick something up—his nickname was Cowboy Jack, and people always gave him a break because he was good with his hands when his hands were being good.

The man wearing the cowboy hat sat down at the counter, nursing a large coffee handed to him by a waitress in her late teens or early twenties. The girl looked a bit sour as she’d filled his cup with double cream and sugar—no wonder, working in a place like this at this time of night. Her hair and makeup seemed out of place with the brown and beige polyester uniform she was wearing, and there was a novel and an open binder at the end of the counter where it looked like she was trying to get some work done. University student earning tuition, no doubt. The waitress was on her way back to her homework when the man said something to her. She looked around and her face broke into a big smile. She said something as a rejoinder, quick and witty, with a nod of her chin, and they both laughed, his shoulders shaking with mirth.

Her father. She sighed. It had been a while, through the never-ending cycle of “I love you” to “I hate you” back to “I love you” and then finally to “I love you, but…” He’d been a great dad in so many ways, except for the staying sober part, and as the years went on, that part got smaller and smaller until it was a thin slice sandwiched between bouts of drinking and fury that never seemed to end. The letters came once in a while—“I’ve been going to meetings. Can I see you?” but there was work, and Luke and the kids, the grandkids he’d only seen a couple of times. The guilt had eaten away at her, but she’d lost the ability to trust his good intentions years ago. Then the last letter came, a few days ago. It was funny, it struck her, how time seems to linger, circles around you, whispers in your ear that there’s no rush, until suddenly there’s no time left.

The man at the counter swivelled on his stool, then got up and walked towards her table. He was thin, thinner than she remembered, but his eyes were the same under the cowboy hat, blue and crinkled at the corners. He stood in front of her, hesitant, holding tight to his coffee. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Hey, Dad. Merry Christmas.”

 

My Week 118: Any Way The Wind Blows, Christmas Fun

Thursday: Who Has Seen the Wind?

Sorry this post is a bit later than usual—with Christmas falling on the weekend, I was too busy unwrapping presents to do any real writing. Yes, yes I know that the point of Christmas is something other than material possessions, but still, Jesus got stuff so why shouldn’t I? And if you remember correctly, my love of pretty things in tiny (or large) boxes is the main reason the Jehovahs will never have my soul, so I think of it more as an act of self-defence. Also, I like GIVING people things as much as I like getting them, so I’m levelling out the karma in a very satisfying way. As usual, I’ve made my share of holiday gaffes, and here are the top three:

1) I kept forgetting what day it was last week, and on Thursday, my two work partners showed up with gifts because one of them wasn’t going to be at work on Friday. Me? I was empty-handed, having planned to do some shopping that night, so I offered to buy them lunch. Because, you know, nothing says “I bring you the joy of the Christmas season” like a burrito. Well, maybe it does if you’re in Mexico…

2) We had a lovely dinner with Ken’s family on Christmas day. Our sister-in-law AND her daughter are both in nursing school at the same time, and they were telling us about their practical exam, where actors are hired to be emergency room patients and they have to assess them under a time limit. We were like, “They pay someone to act like a patient? That would be an awesome job!”

Ken’s Mom: Ken could do that. You’d be good at that, Ken.
Me: Yes! And he could give them hints if they weren’t sure, like “Psst! Don’t forget to check my prostate.”

Silence.

Sister-in-law: Yeah, that’s not really part of it…
Niece: Um, NO.
Ken: Absolutely not.

Of course, everyone laughed hysterically after a minute, but I had definitely demonstrated a complete lack of understanding about what kind of medicine either of them did.

3) On Boxing Day, everyone came to our house because my mom was sick (she’s better now, thanks). I was responsible for a variety of things, including making a cauliflower casserole, which I love, and to which I usually add bacon in a very heavy-handed way. But my aunt was coming and she doesn’t eat pork or beef, so I had to make it without the bacon, because I don’t think it’s nice to invite someone to your house for dinner and be like, “Of course, there’s nothing here for you to eat.” Unfortunately, the weather was a bit iffy, and she left before dinner because it was dark, foggy, and she was worried about the roads (if you’re Canadian, you will totally get that—we never go ANYWHERE without checking both the weather and road reports for the time we’re leaving AND the time we’re coming home). Anyway, that was all fine, until I took dinner out of the oven, and was like, “Dang! I could have put as much bacon in this as I wanted!” Then I was sad, you know, that kind of sadness you get when you’re in a buffet line and they run out of bacon RIGHT before you get there. The only thing that seemed to help was the thought of wearing a tiara to compensate for the lack of bacon. Luckily, like most people, I HAVE a tiara. So now, in all the pictures from last night, I’m wearing a cardigan, jeans, and a beautiful, glittery tiara. And drinking a glass of wine. Obviously.

Anyway, the celebrations were all lovely, and we got to spend some time with T’s girlfriend, the adorable V. But that’s not what I’m supposed to be writing about, according to the title of this post. What I’m really writing about is Wind Turbines. What the hell is wrong with people and their anger over wind turbines? So, here’s the context: On Thursday, someone posted a meme on Facebook of Santa and his reindeer all tangled up in a wind turbine. It was cute and kind of funny, so I posted this comment: “At least he didn’t get sucked into a coal-fired chimney.” Then I scrolled down and looked at some of the other comments and immediately deleted mine because this meme was originally posted by some fanatical anti-Wind group with sublinks like “Anguish” and “The Truth from Europe” and “How Can I Fight?” and I didn’t want to be attacked by them. (Ken just said, “You deleted your comment? You let the internet win!” No, Ken–I just wrote a whole blog about it, so WINNING.) Now, you might be thinking, what the hell does mydangblog know about wind turbines? Well, quite a bit, actually, because Ken and I had a cottage in the heart of Ontario turbine country. I never noticed them, even though apparently they make SO much noise that people have nervous breakdowns just by being a kilometre away from them. We were a lot closer but I guess we’re just deaf (plus, I have to sleep with a white noise machine anyway, so maybe I just found them soothing). The best comment though was “So many eagles and other birds have been innocent victims of these implements of destruction, it’s not surprising that Santa was killed too.” Implements of destruction? So windmills are like nuclear warheads? I didn’t realize that. But if your biggest argument against a wind turbine is that sometimes birds fly into them and are killed, then you better stop driving your f*cking car immediately, because in the world of land mammals, automobiles are the NUMBER ONE IMPLEMENT OF DESTRUCTION. Seriously, I would rather live in proximity to a wind turbine over a coal-fired factory or a nuclear plant any day of the week. People say windmills are noisy, and I realize that makes them so much worse than a nuclear explosion because when a nuclear bomb goes off, you’re dead too quickly to hear it. So let’s see—a renewable source of energy that has virtually no carbon footprint, but makes a little noise, versus black gooey sh*t that has managed to raise the temperature of the planet by several degrees, comes from dead prehistoric animals, and regularly pollutes our land and water with said same black gooey sh*t that has also managed to raise stock prices on Dawn dish detergent. But you know, the jury’s still out on the adverse health effects of being near a windmill, even though the Dutch did it for centuries and are world leaders in renewable energy production. Then again, they grow a lot of tulips, so… (Seriously, that’s the kind of argument I’m seeing on these webpages, like “The Dutch? What do they know? They’re stupid and they grow tulips.) OMFG, I can’t even.

I don’t know about where you live, but where I’m from, wind turbines and transformer substations are subject to some pretty strict guidelines, and in general, must be more than at least half a kilometre away from residential dwellings, and even further away in other jurisdictions. But people will always complain about something—if it’s not a pipeline breaking and leaching poisonous oil into our water table, destroying wildlife and polluting the environment, or radioactive waste from a nuclear power plant causing decades of genetic mutation, then it’s them damn humming windmills, throwing their terrifying shadows on the ground.

People need to grow up and stop being so entitled, ie: “Muh, I like my car! I deserve to use as much dinosaur blood as I want, until it all runs out, and then who gives a sh*t because I’ll be dead anyway. Probably from lung cancer thanks to all the smog. But at least smog is QUIET!!”

Sigh. Merry Christmas.

windmills

 

My Week 116: Holland America’s Eurodam, Mishima is Pissed, I’ve Got A Little List

Cruising on Holland America’s Eurodam

Well, if you looked up “weary traveller” in the dictionary, you would see my sunburned face and crazy hair, after the night I just spent trying to get home from the cruise I was on with my parents and my aunt, thanks to Delta Airlines, who have to be one of the most incompetent and weird airlines I’ve ever flown on. After a comedy of errors involving plane delays, transfers, flights into cities across America trying to get back to Canada during a snowstorm, lost luggage, closed border bridges, and freezing rain, I finally made it back home to the loving arms of my family (most of them), only to be greeted with this:

Mishima: You’re back. What the f*ck was THAT?
Me: Sigh. You’re mad about last week’s blog. I TOLD Ken to include you. This is NOT my fault.
Mishima: I am the linchpin that keeps this motley platoon together, and no one wants to get MY perspective on anything?! This is as bad as the day I said we should “go over the top” but nobody listened, and we were stuck in a trench for 3 weeks.
Me: Um…that’s not ringing any bells.
Mishima: Lest we forget, baby—lest we forget.
Me: You’ve completely lost me, which is not surprising. Anyway, I’m sorry about the blog, but it wasn’t my fault. I brought you back this cool seashell for your tank though.
Mishima: Is there a tiny mermaid trapped within it, and when I rub the shell, she’ll grant me three wishes?
Me: No. It’s just a seashell.
Mishima: You disappoint me once again, woman. And I’ll bet you can guess what the first wish would have been.
Me: So many options…

But aside from Mishima’s disgruntlement, I was glad to be home. Not that the cruise wasn’t great, because it was. In fact, here are the reasons why I would highly recommend Holland America:

The staff: If you’ve ever felt Downton Abbey-ish, and wished for the more simple days when people treated you like royalty for absolutely no reason, you’ve come to the right place. I was called “Milady”. Every f*cking day. Like, “Would Milady like more wine?” Um, yes. Obviously (and by the third day they stopped asking and just poured it). The general staff on this boat were not only adorable, but they were the nicest people on the planet. The majority of them came from either the Philippines or Indonesia, and I don’t know whether they actually liked us or not, but they always acted like they did. I’ve never seen a more cheerful group of people—they had great senses of humour, did whatever they could to help you if you needed it (like how many times did I have to ask Agus, my cabin steward to let me in the room because my keycard had gotten de-magnetized again?), and had the uncanny ability to immediately remember ALL our names after meeting us only once. A huge shout-out to the crew of the Eurodam (and especially our wine steward, Lester)—you guys were awesome and made us feel like we were all in this together.

Here’s an exchange between my mom and our dinner steward, Tomo:

Mom: Could I have the fried chicken, corn, and salad, but without the fried chicken?
Tomo (confused): Milady? You don’t want the fried chicken that comes with the fried chicken?
Mom: No, I’m not that hungry. Oh, and I’d like Jello for dessert.
Tomo: Well, only if you eat your corn and salad…

The next night:

Mom: I’d like the rainbow trout, carrots, and mashed potatoes, please.
Tomo (deadpan): Without the trout. Yes, Milady.
Mom (laughing): No, I’d like the trout.
Tomo: Of course. If you eat it all, I’ll bring you Jello again. (winks).

Seriously—these guys were AWESOME.

The food: The food was bountiful and delicious. Almost TOO bountiful. A word to the wise—just because it’s an “All You Can Eat” buffet, doesn’t mean you should eat ALL of it. After the first day, I realized I needed to pace myself, because they literally give you food all day, and there are only so many times you can walk the deck in an attempt to burn it all off. Me, I’m not too consumed with food, so I was able to have my cereal and yogurt for breakfast, a salad or something small for lunch, then have a good dinner. But there were people, a LOT of them, who you’d think hadn’t eaten for a week the way they were shovelling down the crab legs and prime rib—at breakfast, no less! I guess for some folks it’s as much a food-cation as a vacation.

The passengers: As it is in any situation, you will always meet really nice people that you might normally never have much to do with. Personally, my favourite was Jan, a hulking 77-year-old retired aviation instructor who asked to join our trivia team the first day (trivia is the driving force behind everything that happens on the ship—people literally plan their entire days around when the Trivia Challenge is taking place. The prizes are crap—a cruiseline pin, or a mug, but these people are hardcore, all guts and glory). Jan proved to be invaluable on occasion, knowing the colour that the majority of original Corvettes were (white), or the name of the Wright Brother’s first plane (I said “Kittyhawk”, but he reminded me that was where they took off from, not the name of the plane, which was the Wright Flyer). Our whole team won three times and came in second or third on most other occasions so we were like minor celebrities in the world of cruiseship trivia. On the last night, we won and got free drinks, so it made the struggle to remember how many teeth a shark loses in a year worthwhile.

The room: The room was fantastic, with a great balcony. But the best part was that every night, we’d come back after the room had been turned down, and someone had put a towel animal on the bed. One night it was an elephant, another night a crab—you never knew what you might find. The last night, I walked in, and a towel monkey was hanging from a coat hanger attached to the ceiling vent. I laughed my ass off—I may or may not have been drinking pina coladas during Happy Hour—but it’s the kind of thing that just adds a little bit more to the experience.

monkey

Overall, it was a great trip—we did some amazing shore excursions (seriously, can I LIVE in Key West?), my dad and I went snorkelling together (his first time and my second), I got to pet a stingray, and visited a rum factory. Of course, it wasn’t all fantastic—being aboard a floating hotel with 2500 other people can be a bit of a challenge, and there was a serious lack of on-board entertainment (if you don’t count eavesdropping on people debating over whether or not Donald Trump is great, or will ruin the United States—we stayed out of that sh*t because who wants to ruin a good holiday with politics? Am I right?). So I wrote this little ditty for you, based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and the song “As Some Day It May Happen (I’ve Got A Little List). Here’s a link so that you can listen to it first (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NLV24qTnlg).

The song is updated with each production of The Mikado so that it’s contemporary and relevant. And now, you can apply my own lyrics, based on Holland America’s Eurodam and the people who are on MY list:

As some day it might happen that a victim must be found
I’ve got a little list. I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground
And never would be missed
No, never would be missed.

There’s the couple from the lower deck whose stateroom “smells like mould”,
The people who can barely walk because they’re so damned old,
The 30-something single gal who’s travelling on her own
Who talks and TALKS to anyone but “prefers to be alone”
The buffet line enthusiasts who simply can’t resist—
I’ve got them on my list and they never will be missed.

There’s the gentleman from HBO who’s “smartest on his team”,
Whose wife just lets him brag away but always looks quite steamed,
The ladies playing dominoes whose faces seem so grim,
The people hogging hot tubs but who never want to swim,
The man who calls you “Honey”—f*cking misogynist–
I’ve got HIM on my list and he never would be missed.

There’s the smarmy cruise director who won’t pay you any mind,
Until it’s time to fill the survey card in, THEN he’s kind,
The folks on shore excursions who forget their boarding cards
Despite repeated warnings—hey, is listening THAT hard?
The husband-wife piano team who simply won’t desist–
I’m got them on my list, and they never would be missed!

Well, that’s all. I still have my sea legs, and it feels like the whole room is swaying as I’m writing. Or it could be the pina coladas…

My Week 115: I’m away so my husband covers for me

If my wife is away, then the rest of us have a say:

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you a special interview with some of the folks often mentioned on a weekly basis. We have here today Ken, T, Titus, and Raven.

Raven: “Mentioned?” You mean “victimized”.
Interviewer: You think you’re victims?
Raven: Well, I am. I’m never portrayed as the hero.
Titus: Did you say sandwich?
T: Nobody said sandwich.
Titus: Isn’t there a hero sandwich? I was promised food if I did this interview.

Interviewer: Well, let’s just slow things down a bit and ask a few orderly questions. Raven says she doesn’t like the way she is portrayed. How do the rest of you feel?
T: I wish I had a name. I’m all for protecting my identity, but I AM 18.
Ken: Do you want your name given when she reminisces about when you were a baby. Like the time I had to change your diaper three times in one 20-minute drive. Man, you just wouldn’t stop shitting.
Titus: He said it. He said the S-word. Where’s the treats?
Raven: They’re in my litter box, dummy.
Interviewer: No one’s eating out of the litterbox during this interview.
Titus: Rats.

Interviewer: How about you Ken? How do you like being mentioned?
Ken: It’s okay, I guess. It HAS caused me to preface our intimate conversations with, “This is off the record.” Otherwise, it ends up in the blog.
Titus: You can do that? Next time I mention a dick joke, I’m going to say that.
Ken: Some things are true. Like every time she hears a noise, I have to investigate. The other night she heard some noise when we were watching TV in the evening. She wanted me to go downstairs and investigate. I told her that if you mute the TV and listen carefully, you’ll discover a logical explanation.
Interviewer: What was the noise?
Ken: It was the doors on a car parked on the street being slammed as people got out and went into the church. I told her and besides Titus wasn’t alarmed. If there was an intruder, he would be running downstairs.
Titus: There was a noise?
Raven: You big idiot.

Interviewer: Titus, how do you like being in the blog?
Titus: I’m with T. I wish she would use my proper name.
Interviewer: What is that?
Titus: ‘Titus the Wonder Dog, Saviour of the Universe, Jedi Knight, Lord of the Yard, King of Drumbo, Protector of those I love, and Master of the Kitchen and all the food in it.’
Raven: Shortened to ‘Idiot.’
Interviewer: That’s quite a title. Can you repeat it?
Titus: No, I forgot what I said. Just call me Titus.

Interviewer: We all know that the blog writer lives in Toronto during the week and works for The Agency. What does each of you do?
T: I’m at university.
Ken: He’s discovering that life is more challenging when Mom and Dad aren’t around to make meals, grocery shop, do laundry, clean the kitchen, and keep things tidy.
T: No. Well, okay yes. You guys should come by more often and do the dishes.
Ken: I’ll send Titus.
Titus: Yeah, I’ll do your dishes. Are there leftover crusts?

Interviewer: What about you Raven?
Raven: I have a tightly regimented schedule. I wake up in the morning after sleeping beside Ken for warmth and I go downstairs and yell until he feeds me. I hate when he goes to work and my bowl’s empty. Then I sleep in T’s room for the morning because it faces south and I get the warmth of the sun. Then, in the afternoon, I move to the living room and sleep on the west-facing leather chair to soak up the sun. Once Ken gets home and turns on the fireplace I sleep in front of it until it’s time to go to bed.
Ken: Seriously, that’s all she does. She’s supposed to watch the place for mice and keep them out.
Raven: Have you seen any mice?
Ken: No.
Raven: Job done.

Interviewer: And you Ken?
Ken: I keep busy. I make lists and try and do little things around the house as well as work. In the evening I like to edit photos and read.
Titus: And he cooks.
Interviewer: Is he a good cook?
Titus: I don’t know about that, but he’s a sloppy cook. I eat everything he spills. He drops a lot of cheese when he grates cheese.
Ken: I spend my kitchen time guarding the food against the food thief.
Interviewer: Does Titus like to try to take your food?
Ken: Every single chance he gets.
Titus: Is this about the basil beef? I thought you were done.
Ken: Done. It was still sitting in the wok. We hadn’t even eaten yet.
Interviewer: What’s this about?
Ken: Last year, Suzanne made a wok full of basil beef and before we ate, we ran some up to the store where T was working. When we got back, we discovered Titus had eaten it all.
Titus: It was so good.

Interviewer: What about you Titus? What do you do?
Titus:  I guard things. Like the other day when Ken was at work I had to guard against these people who came to the door.
Ken: What did they want?
Titus: They were handing out pamphlets. I told them we don’t eat pamphlets.
Raven: If it was food, would you have let them in?
Titus: If they had good food….maybe.
Raven: How are you guarding anything if you can be bribed by food?
Titus: But they have food…
Raven: You just don’t get it.

Interviewer: Tell us about a good day for you, Titus.
Titus: One with no cats.
Raven: Piss off.
Titus: Burn. I just burned you in an interview. And I ate your food the other day when Ken forgot to close the door.
Raven: There’s a squirrel outside.
Titus: Squirrel!

Interviewer: Well, we just lost Titus. He took off running out of here.
Raven: And I just dropped the mic.

Interviewer: Maybe I should wrap up. Thanks for your thoughts.
T: Do we get cookies now? Titus said we get treats.

 

Now, here’s a short post from last year:

Elf on a Shelf Rant

Wednesday: I worry about the implications of the Elf on a Shelf

On Wednesday at work, we were talking about the upcoming holiday season, and a couple of people referenced the newest Christmas ‘tradition’—the Elf on a Shelf. This merry little fellow is a posable doll, dressed in a red and white elf costume, which can offer hours of fun for parents, and apparently hours of terror for children. Every morning, the child will get up and find the elf in a new position, having done something clever or naughty during the night. And during the day, there is the reminder that the elf is “watching over you” from somewhere in the house. This, from what I gathered, allows parents to apply leverage to their little ones ie: “You’d better behave—Marcel (or whatever name the parents give the tiny spy) is keeping an eye on you, and if you don’t stop poking your sister, he’ll tell Santa in his daily report!” While this may sound cute and festive on the surface, it has really insidious undertones. Isn’t it bad enough that “Santa” already knows when you’ve been “bad or good”, sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake? At least Santa is at the North Pole, and might be too busy to constantly monitor whether or not you snuck a green bean to the dog. But now, there’s a creeper in your own home, who stalks you every minute of the day and reports back to the Big Guy for even minor infractions like colouring outside the lines or drinking straight from the bottle or whatever. And there are hundreds of websites devoted to sharing things that people can do with their elves. I took a look at some of them and here are the more disturbing places that the Elf on a Shelf can be found. I’m not making this sh*t up—they’re all true:

1) In a Nativity Scene: These irreverent parents replaced the baby Jesus with their elf, named DJ. He towers over all the other figures like a jolly, stocking-capped god. The shepherds look terrified, and the Wise Men look pissed off, like “We came all this way for that?” Mary just looks confused.

2) Trussed up in a toilet paper roll, wrists tied together, and hanging from the shower curtain rod, having been gagged with what looks like his own collar. This might be the first clue that your parents don’t really like the Elf on a Shelf—or that they’re serial killers.

3) Lying in a drunken stupor on top of a picture frame, after having used black marker to draw devil horns and tails on a family portrait. What kind of behaviour are you trying to role model here? Satan worship or vandalism? And then you wonder why, ten years later, your teenager is playing records backwards and spray painting the neighbour’s fence with pentagrams.

4) Reading the Bible: Not that reading the Bible is disturbing, but it kind of sends a mixed message. Does God have elves or angels? Plus it adds another layer to the paranoia you’re creating in your child. Now the little tyke is being watched by the Elf, Santa, and GOD. I would just lock myself in my room and never come out.

5) In the hot tub, with three Barbie Dolls: He looks REALLY happy. Maybe because all the Barbies’ hands are under the marshmallow water. “Daddy, what are all those ladies doing to Buddy?” “Don’t worry, honey—they’re just jingling his sleigh bells.”

There also seem to be a lot of pictures of the elf defacing walls with crayon, gorging on maple syrup and candy, writing on mirrors, squeezing out toothpaste all over the counter, and writing messages in spilled hot chocolate powder, which makes me think that parents are having way more fun with the Elf than their kids are. Sure, sure, I know that kids get really excited about ANYTHING to do with Christmas, and probably get a kick out of the Elf to a certain extent, but it’s all just a little too Orwellian for me, like the Thought Police have invaded Christmastown. If we really want to draw an analogy to 1984, then Santa is Big Brother, the Elf on a shelf is O’Brien, your child is Winston Smith, and your house is the Ministry of Love (which sounds like a very nice place, but that’s where all the torture-y stuff happened, in case you never read the book). Do you really want your children to wake up Christmas morning chanting, “2+2=5”? Santa was always good enough for me, cuz I loved Big Brother. Also, my other worry is that we’re another step down the road to abandoning any actual meaning for ANY celebration, and eventually we’ll just blend Hallowe’en, Black Friday, and Christmas all together into a new festival called “Overconsumption”, where adults wearing elf costumes fight to the death in a two-month long tournament to win candy, toys, flat screen TVs and vegetable steamers for their kids. Overall though, I guess if you want to do the Elf on the Shelf thing with your kids, play up the fun, and tone down the fascism. And the sex. That’s my advice.

(As a side note, I would never have an Elf, but I DO have “Sock Monkey in the Wine Frig”. His only job is to make sure no one steals my wine.)

My Week 114: 2 AM Eternal, Christmas Toys for Girls and Boys

Friday: 2 AM Eternal

I’ve had a lot on my mind recently and, as if my brain isn’t already like a jukebox most of the time, it’s been made even worse by thoughts that are stressing me and decisions that I currently have to make. As a result, I found myself wide awake at 2 am on Friday morning, with my head in full overdrive. What I normally do under these circumstances is try to distract myself, and since it was getting close to the weekend, I tried to focus on writing, and what this week’s post would be about. Then I just let my mind drift…

I like that so many people read my blog. I mean, I love writing it, but it’s nice that people read it. Isn’t it weird though, that my most popular post is still Week 9: Jehovah’s Witnesses? I wonder why. Is there a Jehovah network out there, and they’re all reading it with plans to descend on my house en masse one day? Or do people click on it, thinking it’s some kind of rant? Have MY Jehovahs read it? They asked me once what the web address of my blog was. Could they actually have remembered it and looked it up?! That would be embarrassing, them coming to the door every week, knowing that I know that they secretly want to steal my soul in a universal battle like Batman vs. Superman, and that the empty liquor bottles and Christmas decorations on the porch are my version of Kryptonite because apparently in this scenario, I’m Batman. Not sure why. But there may be an upside—if they ARE reading my blog, this would be a great time to tell them not to come before noon. I feel really self-conscious and weird when they come at 10 and I’m still in my pajamas. Last week, I saw them coming up the walk, and I screamed down to Ken, “The Jehovahs are coming! Hide!” Eventually, they left, and then I felt guilty, so if they are reading this, you need to come later in the day, kind of in between the time when I’m not wearing clothes and haven’t started drinking yet. So let’s say, 1:30 to 2:00 pm. It’s a small window, but I DO like your weird magazines…

Why is Harry Potter Puppet Pals in my head right now? Snape, Snape, Severus Snape (Dumbledore!)

Imaginary Me: I really like your weird magazines, except for all the Bible stuff.
Imaginary JW: The Bible stuff is kind of the point, soon-to-be-convert.
Imaginary Me: You’ll never own my soul! Anyway, here’s a question. Why was the Bible written by a bunch of white guys when everything took place in the Middle East?
Imaginary JW: Why do you think they’re all white guys?
Imaginary Me: Well, they all have white guy names, except for the main character. Mark, John, Peter…I’ve never met a Middle Eastern guy called Luke.
Imaginary JW: The Bible was translated from Hebrew to English. Their names were originally less white.
Imaginary Me: You just googled that, didn’t you?
Imaginary JW: No, it’s something you remembered—this is YOUR imaginary conversation. Plus Google was invented by the devil. We only use Bing. It’s Jehovah’s True Search Engine.
Imaginary Me: OK, now you’ve gone too far. BING—I could NEVER get behind that.

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape (Dumbledore!) Ron, Ron, Ron Weasley…

…If what Google says is true (well, at least the imaginary Google in my head), then isn’t it the biggest irony of all that David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, has a Jewish first name? All those crazy anti-Semites out there, and most of them are named after Hebrew people. I wonder if they realize that. Although from the idiocy I’ve seen and read coming from the so-called “alt-right”, I highly doubt it…

Imaginary KKK rally

David Duke: All right, white guys—time to put on your silly hoods. Aaron, Adam, Ben—you guys are in charge of leading the chanting. Dan, Ethan, and Gabe—you can set the cross on fire.
All: Yeehaw! That’ll show those foreigners with their weird-ass names and strange, cultish behaviour.
David Duke: Look at me! Whee! I’m a wizard!

…the KKK confuses me. Are they supposed to be Christian? Cuz their leader is a male witch, and that sounds really magic-y to me. Plus, why do they burn crosses? These guys are just FULL of irony. Or stupidity. It’s hard to differentiate with the KKK…

Alt-right, Alt-right, Severus Snape (Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Harry Potter)…

…I wonder if Kellie Leitch is a secret member of a white power group, or is she just trying to ride the Trump train? What exactly ARE Canadian values, anyway? And who gets to define them? I could do it. I’m great at running stuff…

Imaginary citizenship hearing

Judge: Do you promise not to EVER write stupid comments online? And to NEVER re-post articles without checking them out on Snopes.com first?
Immigrant: You betcha.
Judge: Will you line up in an orderly fashion, even on Black Friday, or when waiting to use the washroom at the Air Canada Centre?
Immigrant: Do I HAVE to go shopping on Black Friday?
Judge: Heck no. This is Canada.
Immigrant: Then, you betcha.
Judge: Will you be respectful and accepting of other people’s viewpoints, religions, and gender identities?
Immigrant: Obviously. That’s why I came here. Oh, do I have to care about other people’s marital relationships?
Judge: Absolutely not.
Immigrant: What a relief. Being all up in other people’s business is so tiring. And time-consuming. So, yes, I agree.
Judge: Cool. You’re in. Now go apologize to someone for something and pet a beaver.

…I could totally run this country.

Finally, I started to get sleepy. It was 4:10 in the morning, but I got a lot accomplished. And here for your viewing pleasure is a link to Harry Potter Puppet Pals, so it can be the soundtrack to YOUR insomnia too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx1XIm6q4r4

Saturday: Toy Sexism

Yesterday, I was out shopping at a local store that has a huge Christmas display of toys. As I wandered around, looking for something for my niece, I was really disturbed. I’ve written before about toys and sexism, but I’ve never seen anything quite as blatant as the stuff from a company called Play Go. These people are seriously trying to inculcate little girls into the worst kind of stereotyped gender roles. First, I saw “My Cleaning Set”. This is a kit with a broom, dustpan, mop and bucket. On the box is a little girl in a pink t-shirt happily holding the broom, because cleaning the house is the career goal of most women. But for the really ambitious gal, they also sell “My Cleaning Trolley”, which has a vacuum as well, and is portable enough to take your skills on the road. Everything on it is pink and light purple, which are obviously the colours of success. Next was “Let’s Cook—the Complete Kitchen Set”—38 pieces of pink kitchenware, featuring a little girl in a pink t-shirt and apron, wearing a chef’s hat. What’s wrong with this picture? Obviously the chef’s hat, cuz aren’t all chefs guys? This company should be ashamed to imply that girls can grow up to be chefs just like men. But the really interesting thing is that all of the little girls on the boxes seem to be members of different ethnic groups. So is Play Go trying to be diverse, or are they secretly being racist as well as sexist? But I’m not just targeting Play Go, because what really stood out for me was the Construction Set right next to the “girl toys”. It was made by Little Tikes, another well-known company, and it featured two little boys in green and navy t-shirts, happily building things. So now I get it—girls stay home and clean and cook, and boys build sh*t. I wish I’d known that BEFORE I went to all the trouble of going to university and having a professional career. Hell, I could have just stayed home and cleaned my house. Now, this is not to say that I don’t respect women who DO choose to stay at home, raise their children, and take care of their families, because I absolutely do, if that’s their choice. Ultimately, the goal of feminism wasn’t and shouldn’t be to force all women into the workforce—it was to give them the right to CHOOSE what they wanted to do with their lives without being attacked for it either way. But toy companies shouldn’t be influencing two-year-olds to make that choice based on pretty colours and “realistic vacuum sounds”. As I was looking in dismay at the toys, a woman with a little girl around the age of 3 came over. “Look!” said the little girl pointing at the cooking set. “I can make all the food for everyone!” I was really hoping the mom would say, “Or you can build a railroad like the kids on THIS box” but she just said, “You could!” Then the grandma came over, put a Santa hat on the little girl’s head and said, “Look at you! You’re SO pretty!” Sigh.

toys1

toys2

toys3

Then later, in a strange twist of fate, Ken was reading Awake!, the Jehovah’s Witness magazine that the friendly local JWs had dropped off while I was shopping (Sorry, JWs–maybe next time). One of the articles was about “respect in marriages”. It featured an imaginary conversation between a husband and wife where the husband was expressing that he didn’t feel like his wife treated him with respect because she was always talking loudly, using exaggerated facial expressions, waving her hands around, and interrupting him.

Ken: Don’t you think this is really sexist? The wife is getting all the blame. There’s nothing here about what the husband does to make the wife feel disrespected. Then there’s a bit from the Bible about how women should treat their husbands with respect.
Me: Or MAYBE it’s reverse sexism. Maybe the Jehovahs are secretly sexist against men for being such big, f*cking babies. Like “Oh, poor me, my wife is mean to me.” Maybe the hidden message is “Grow the f*ck up, imaginary lame-ass guy”. You never know with the Jehovahs.
Ken: Well, all right then…
Me: Sorry, was I disrespecting you? Get over it. I love you.
Ken: Sigh. I love you too.

Poor Ken. I’m going to cook him a really awesome dinner tonight. Because THAT’S my choice.

My Week 113: Highway of Hell, Titus and I Watch the National Dog Show Again

Monday: I hate driving

I used to love driving. I got my licence when I was almost 17. It took me three tries, but you know what they say: “Nothing worth having isn’t worth working hard for.” Now, while this might imply that I wasn’t very good at it, the fact was that I was terrified of the driving examiner, a thin red-haired guy with spectacles and a pornstache who never smiled. The first two times, I was so nervous that I forgot even the basics, like how to signal and maybe brake. But then my lovely mother came up with a plan—she told me we were going shopping and then she suddenly pulled into the licence office. I had no time to get worked up, and managed to pass the road test with flying colours. Also, the examiner had pretty much given up on me ever being able to parallel park, so he skipped that part. And if he’s out there, he’ll be gratified to know that I’ve NEVER, in almost 35 years, even attempted to parallel park. I’d rather abandon the car in a ditch and call a cab than try to squeeze in between two other cars. Apparently, new vehicles come with parallel parking technology, but I’d probably f*ck it up by screaming “Watch the back bumper! Jesus—you’re too far from the curb AGAIN!” just like my own driving instructor, an old guy hired by my high school who looked like Santa Claus but talked about his girlfriend in very graphic terms, used to do. In this day and age, Gary’s pervy sense of humour would have meant instant dismissal, but hey—it was the early 80s, a time when creepy older guys could say what they wanted and teenaged girls felt pressured to giggle nervously. (I thought we’d moved pass this point, but now Donald Trump is president-elect, so ladies, prepare your best teehees). Gary had one of those cars with an extra brake on the passenger side, and his favourite trick was to drive around alone, with his hand on the bottom of the wheel, his left foot on the accelerator and his right foot on the extra brake, freaking people out. He was the original driverless car. Among other things.

At any rate, there I was with my licence. Not really my freedom, since it would be years before I could afford my own car, but still. Over time, I’ve driven many vehicles—a Mercury Marquis, bigger than most small watercraft, a Cutlass Supreme, a Ford Tempo (Ken’s first car), my own Honda Accord, then a succession of mini-vans until T was old enough to not require a car seat. When I turned 40, I got the best car in the world—a Saturn SC2 Coupe in bright yellow with black leather interior. It was an awesome car, and the best part was that it was made of plastic. Well, some sort of polymer anyway, which meant it would never rust. I loved that car—I had it for almost ten years until the fateful day that I was driving T and myself home from the cottage. Two kilometres from our exit on the 401, the double tanker truck driving beside me decided to change lanes—into OUR lane. He hit us, and proceeded to push us off the highway diagonally as we were both going around 100 km an hour (60 mph for my American friends). He ripped through my plastic side panel, and for a minute we were caught on his bumper. I still remember fighting the wheel so I wouldn’t get whipped around underneath him. When the car finally tore loose and I came to a skidding, sliding halt on the shoulder, I started to cry hysterically, T in the back seat patting my shoulder and trying to hug me. The truck driver stopped, and he got out and ran back. “I didn’t even see you!” he said. “Christ, this is the second time in the last two weeks this has happened to me!” I was like “What the f*ck! My car is bright yellow—how could you miss me!?”

He was charged with careless driving, but my car was a write-off and I was a wreck. For a little while anyway. It took some time before I was able to get back on a major highway, but I did it, a few panic attacks notwithstanding. Then I got, almost simultaneously, a new car and a new job. The car was amazing—a Chevy Sonic LTZ Turbo, black with red custom trim, black leather interior, and fully loaded. It was a show car, and had only been driven to and from malls and convention centres. The job was equally awesome, but it was in Toronto, which meant regular trips down the nefarious 401, the world’s “superhighway slash parking lot”. After a few months of tearing my hair out, trying to get home on a Friday night, or back into the city on a Sunday, driving in the STUPIDEST traffic known to human kind, I finally discovered the train. I’ve previously written about this, so I won’t bore you with the details but here is the top ten list of reasons why traffic might be suddenly stopped on the 401, which I wrote about in more detail in My Week 54: Back on the Train Gang:

10) It’s raining.
9) What a weird looking bird…
8) Is that a running shoe? Slow down!!
7) Look, an airplane. Coooool.
6) There’s an accident on the OTHER side of the road.
5) It’s windy.
4) That squirrel has devil eyes!
3) Are those cloud shadows on the road, or is it the beginning of the alien invasion?
2) A bus is on fire.
1) (And this is absolutely true). Radio announcer: Be careful out there today, folks. That sun is really shining brightly!

The 401 is the most aggravating piece of sh*t highway in the world. But I had managed to avoid it completely for almost the last year, until two weeks ago, when I had to work in Mississauga. I decided that I might as well just travel back and forth from home—it was almost the same distance as coming in from downtown TO, and the upside was that I could see Ken every night. But after the first week of leaving the house at 6:15 am and not knowing if I’d get to work either on time or alive, I was starting to have second thoughts. Until I was telling my manager about it, and she said, “Why don’t you just take the 407? The company will pay for it.” The 407? That blissful, privately-owned toll road that would help me bypass all the stupidity of the Hurontario to Trafalgar Road corridor, which is technically a 14-kilometre stretch but can take almost half an hour to get through, thanks to what the radio announcers call “volume”? Yes, THAT toll road.

The next morning, a quiet Sunday, I tried the 407. I was hooked. This was MY road, the one I was always destined to drive. Of course, it WAS a Sunday—who knew what it would be like on a Monday morning during rush hour. Guess what? Exactly the same! I made it into work 15 minutes early, stress-free and with a smile on my face. The same thing happened on the way home—traffic moving steadily, lots of room to change lanes if necessary, no slowdowns because of interesting graffiti on the overpass…

But you know, once you’ve driven on a toll road, you get a little self-entitled. Just like parents who send their kids to private school and expect better grades because they’re paying for them, I also ended up one morning hitting the brakes for a minute and thinking, “What the f*ck is this?! I’m PAYING for this!” It’s amazing how quickly you get used to NOT sitting in a four lane parking lot, surrounded by transport trucks.

Well, the two weeks finally ended, and I was relieved to get home on Thursday night, and ditch the highway driving until the next time we’re working in Mississauga, which should be several months from now. Then I logged into the Via Rail site to buy my train ticket for Sunday—and everything was sold out. So one last trip down the highway to hell. But at least Ken’s driving.

Saturday: Titus and I watch the National Dog Show again.

Well, it’s that time of year, when frou frou dogs get to shake and shimmy their little selves down the catwalk (there’s some irony for you). Yes, it’s the National Dog Show, brought to you by Purina, the company who doesn’t believe feeding dogs antifreeze could possibly harm them. (Propylene glycol, according to Purina, is very safe to ingest. I wonder if any of their senior executives would care to sample it?) Anyway, the show itself is highly entertaining, as much for the strange remarks by the commentators, John O’Hurley and David Frei, as anything. We tuned in a little late, but just in time to see the Toy class:

Me: Titus, look. A Japanese Chin!
Titus: I didn’t know the Japanese had different chins from you guys.
Me: No, wake up. It’s a kind of dog.
Titus: Ugh. It looks like a bug.
Me: It’s name is Michael.
Titus: Sounds about right. “Michael”. Ha!
Me: What’s wrong with Michael?
Titus: Look it up on Urban Dogtionary.com. You’ll see.
Announcer 1: Up next is the Yorkshire Terrier, Bugsy Malone. Did you know that Yorkies were originally bred to guard factory workers’ lunches from rats?
Titus: What kind of self-respecting dog GUARDS lunches? I’d be all up in that sh*t. There’d be nothing left, let me tell you. Guarding lunches—bah.
Me: Yes, I think we all know better than to leave YOU in charge of food. God, look at this thing….
Announcer 1: And here we have the Pekingese, Chuck. Chuck is a little slow off the mark. Oh wait, there he goes—he’s really “scorching the earth” now, haha.
Announcer 2: You know, you could be walking this dog backwards for two years and never notice. Wow. He just won his class. Way to go, Chuck.

Then we went on to the sporting class, which seemed to be made up of a lot of setters, pointers, and spaniels.

Titus: Did he say Visla? Wasn’t that the all-girls’ school in Harry Potter? Wait—he just said “Cocker”! This gets better and better.
Me: Grow up!

Then the announcers started to fill in the dead air between announcing the dog’s breed and watching it parade around the ring with some pretty random sh*t:

The Irish Setter: She looks like the redhead who walked into the cocktail party. (Titus: He said “cocktail”. Snort).
The Weimeraner: This dog is the grey ghost. It’s like a ninja. I have one, and he just appears out of nowhere.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver: This dog has a long name, and it’s the official dog of Nova Scotia. It has to be strong enough to carry a two pound duck.
The Chesapeake: Oily coat and webbed feet. An interesting dog. Waterproof.
The Springer Spaniel: This is by far the prettiest dog I’ve ever seen. His name is Timmy.
Miniature Poodle. This haircut is not whimsical. The miniature poodle is a gentleman’s hunting companion (Titus: Hunting for what? Aliens?).
Schipperke: Look at those nice, erect ears. (Titus: He said “erect”. Snort).
Lhasa Apso: Bred to be a guard dog in monasteries.
Tibetan Terrier: Also guarded monasteries. (Titus: Why were all these dogs in monasteries? Geez, live a little, why don’t you?)
The French Bulldog: Did you know Parisian streetwalkers used to use these dogs as icebreakers? You know, to start a “conversation” with a potential client…
The Border Collie: These dogs are incredibly intelligent. (Titus: Not intelligent enough to refuse to be in a dog show.) His name is Slick. (Titus: Well, at least he has a cool name.)

Finally, the show was done, and the overall winner was a Greyhound named Gia.

Titus: I think I’m in love.
Me: She looks a little too mature for you.
Titus: What?! Why?
Me: Really? From the guy who snickered every time the announcer said a word with “cock” in it? I thought you were going to fall off the bed when he said “erect ears”.
Titus: Guilty as charged. You know, you missed your chance with me. I could have been a show dog. Just look at these pearly whites.
Me: I’d have to rename you. How does Dick sound?
Titus: Absolutely awesome.

titus-teeth

 

My Week 112: It’s the Sh*t, I’m An Enabler

Wednesday: I consider recent movements

Today’s topic is something that we’re all very aware of. We do it every day. We were fascinated by it as children—in fact, some children like to make art with it. As adults, we examine it, consider it, pretend it never happened, or fixate on it, but we rarely discuss it. It goes by many names: dump, turd, doodie, dingleberry, fudgebunny, rosebud, or in my own family’s case, trump. Yes, I’m talking about poop. Admit it—we all, in our own way, are interested in this subject, at least our OWN subject. Most people really don’t care to think about other people’s sh*t—well, their LITERAL sh*t anyway. In fact, most people are FAR too interested in other people’s figurative sh*t for their own good, and are always happy to express their opinions on things that never concern them.

At any rate, I realized lately that I may just be weirdly interested in poop. It started a while ago, when I was in the hospital after having major surgery. In the bathroom, there was a chart that had images of different kinds of poop on it, and descriptions of what each one meant. Like there was the “normal” poo that looked like a sleek log, then there was the bulky poo that looked like really long, dry cookie dough and was described as “a sausage shape with cracks in the surface”, which meant the person was somewhat dehydrated. (If you’re interested in more of this, just google “Bristol Stool Chart”—I know you’re saying out loud “No way”, but we both know you’ll secretly look at it). Then, a while ago, I saw a giant poo in the doorway of a defunct sushi restaurant down the street from my condo. Right away, I was like “Whoa! That’s the biggest poo I’ve ever seen! Also, its owner needs to drink more fluids.” Later, it was still there and I tried to point it out to a friend, but she was like “No! You need to stop. I do NOT want to see some homeless person’s poop.” I realize some people are just really uncomfortable with random feces, but this was like World Record stuff—it literally haunted my thoughts for days, and every time I passed the doorway, even though it was long gone, I pondered the size, and diet, of its owner. Then last week, the topic of my obsession with the doorway poo came up and my manager asked me what it was all about. I embarked on the merry tale, and how awesomely large the poo was, but we all know how terrible I am at oral storytelling, and I think most of the story was just me going, “Wow—it was just so—yeah—like this huge juggernaut—amazing”. Everyone laughed, but I realized that just maybe I should keep my fascination with poo to myself. At least while at work. But here—well, here, I have carte blanche to write about whatever the hell I want, and you can judge me, but you can’t argue with the fact that deep in your secret heart, you also think poo is, if not cool, at least interesting and informative. Seriously, nobody is watching as you nod and smile. Or when you look into the toilet in the morning to inspect your offering. The other day, I felt the urge, and afterwards I snuck a peek. My reaction? “Huh. Impressive!” Then I giggled a little, because I said it out loud, but no one else was in the bathroom to hear me. And please don’t try to tell me that you have never passed judgement on your own sacrifice to the porcelain god, because we all do it. We’ve all gone, “Holy hell! What did I eat yesterday?” or “Why doesn’t corn digest like regular normal food?”, “Alcohol sure does a number on my bowels”, or just “Good one!” I think the world would be a much happier place if we all discussed our poop on a regular basis—after all, no matter what colour, gender, or religion you are, it’s something we ALL have in common. Even the Queen enjoys a satisfying voiding of the royal bowels. Trump trumps. Obama boom booms. Trudeau pops out little smiley faces that sparkle. I was thinking last night about how best to use modern media to bring us all together via bodily waste and I came up with a TV show that would address the issue :

A beach scene. People in uniform milling around. A body lying on the sand. Camera pans to a large poo beneath a palm tree. Cut to Danny.

Danny: It’s not looking good, boss.
Horatio: Tell me what you’ve got, Dann-o.
Danny: Large male, judging by size. Probably a vegan, based on the amount of broccoli and self-righteousness smooth texture. Well-hydrated. Looks like the Number 2 Killer has struck again.
Horatio: (gazes sternly into distance). I’m making the Number 2 Killer my number one priority. He won’t get away with this shit again. Let’s roll.

Camera cuts away and credits roll to the sound of “Squeeze Box” by The Who. The title appears: CSI: Excremental.

I know, right? There’s also a twist on the new Sherlock Holmes drama which I call “Alimentary”. It’s the same basic premise as CSI: Excremental, but with more deductive reasoning:

Sherlock: I’ve come to the conclusion that our victim is indeed a beet farmer.
Watson: How could you possibly know that?
Sherlock: For God’s Sake, Watson—look at the colour of his scat. That slight pink tinge is a dead giveaway. Have I taught you nothing?!

So the next time you secretly poke through your dog’s crap with a stick to see if he ate some tinfoil, or jump with joy at your baby’s ginormous diaper dump, know that you’re not alone. Here’s a vintage cookie jar for you that looks just like the poo emoji.

poo-jar

Friday: I’m an enabler.

Me (spills wine on bedspread): Titus! Stop licking the covers!
Titus: But it’s so delicious. Spill some more.
Me: No!! OMG. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Titus: What do you mean? Wine is nice.
Me: You’re such a dick. I love you.
Titus: I know. Spill some more wine.
Me: Oh for god’s sake, here. Just lick it off my finger.
Raven: For the record, I dragged my butt across the carpet and sneezed on your pillow. Can I have some wine too?
Me: Sigh.