All The Stars In The Sky

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image in public domain via pixabay.com

One of the bad things about posting to a blog late on Friday, or at any point over the weekend, is that most people don’t read blogs on the weekend.  Blogs are for coffee breaks, or lunch breaks, or the-boss-isn’t-around breaks.  However, on the theory that when life hands you gators, you may as well make Gatorade, here’s the up side to that:  it’s Friday.  My blog post can be as bizarre and embarrassing as my little blind heart desires because no one’s paying attention.  As long as I publish another post early Monday morning, chances are my Friday post could be about how I think all the cutest kittens should have their fur shaved off and be shot into space (the kittens, not the fur) and it would pass without a single comment.

I don’t think cute kittens should be shaved and shot into space, by the way, just in case this no-one’s-looking thing ends up backfiring.  I think that’s what we should do with the CEOs of companies that use those full-screen pop-up ads that completely obscure whatever page you’re trying to see and have no apparent way to close them out. I’d shave those bastards myself.  It’s Friday, so I can say things like that.  Ironic side note:  while I was checking online to make sure I was using the right term for that ad, one of those ads popped up.  The real irony is that it popped up while I was viewing a site describing how to block pop-up ads.  Though you never know; maybe pop-ups have become sentient and that ad was just acting in self-defense.  The internet is a postmodern Neverland.

Meanwhile, back at my original point:  since it’s Friday and no one is paying attention, I’m going to tell you something about myself that I wish weren’t true.  Here’s where I usually chicken out and write something like “When I’m on a plane, I look at the other passengers and decide who I’d save in the event of a crash based on what book they’re reading and how annoying their kids are.”  This is true, but I wouldn’t waste a wish on changing it.  If I had a wish to spend, one I could only use for something selfish and fun (like with birthday money when you’re a kid), I would wish I could remember what the stars look like.

Let me explain that a little:  I’m surrounded by things I can’t see, but I know sort of generally what most things look like because I make sure to take a good squint at them when I get the chance.  In the event I don’t get the chance, there’s always Google Images.  It’s kind of nice, actually, because while it’s true that I can’t see any of the flowers in my neighbor’s garden, the garden I picture in my head has all of my favorite flowers in perfect bloom year round.  In the garden I see, there are no weeds, no bare patches where you can’t get anything to grow, no creepy garden gnomes, and (this is key) no chrysanthemums.  That’s the flower for the month of my birth, and I’ve always felt gypped in that regard because I think they look frumpy.  So when I walk by a garden, no, I can’t see it, but in my head it’s full of daffodils and roses and orchids and violets and tiger lilies and more daffodils, and no one gets pricked by thorns and all the bees are too happy to sting anyone and there are no chrysanthemums, ever.  It’s hard to call that a disability.

I’ve forgotten what the stars look like, though, and I can’t find a picture or video that does them justice–I may have forgotten what they look like, but I still remember how looking at them made me feel, and no image I’ve seen even comes close. Sometimes I almost remember them, or I remember being cold while I watched them, or I remember where I was one time when I saw them.  But the times when I saw the stars were too long ago and too many things have happened since then, and although I clutched those memories and hoarded them for years, one day they were just gone.  Dissolved or fell apart, or crowded out, I don’t know, but conspicuous to the point of indecency by their absence, and gone forever.

This is by way of an explanation to my friends (who will read this post despite its being published on a Friday), who have never understood how I can be afraid of heights but always want to live on the top floor.  It’s an explanation of why I kept climbing all those trees and convincing my aforementioned friends to help me sneak onto the roof of every building on my college campus, and by the way, I’m sorry about all the roof violations.  I just wanted to see if getting closer maybe jogged my memory or even helped me see, but I could never get close enough for more than a few faint gleams that in retrospect were probably airplanes and satellites.  What’s gone is gone.

Eventually I stopped climbing trees and sneaking onto roofs, and you can make whatever metaphor or broader theme you want to out of all this, but for me it’s simply the literal truth.  I wish I could remember what a starry sky looks like.  I’ve made my peace with my fuzzy worldview, and I made Gatorade out of all the gators I could get to sit still long enough, and I’m not asking for a miracle cure that lets me see again.  I just want to remember.  Sometimes I’ll wish so hard that I’ll dream about them, and I’ll think ‘It’s only a dream, you’ve had them before, this isn’t real.’  And then I’ll think, ‘No, this time it’s real, I can tell, I’m awake and I can see the stars.’  And then I wake up and I can’t even remember how they looked in my dream.  It’s cruel and it hurts, and I wouldn’t stop having the dreams if I could.

So if I had a wish that I couldn’t use for world peace or perfect vision or an honest politician or any other fairy tale, that’s how I’d use it.  Who knows?  The future is nothing but possibility, and I’ve learned to be careful about words like “never” and “always.”  I embrace the maybe and I keep hope alive.  I also still want to live on the top floor and I will always, yes always, keep looking into the sky at night, and I’ll never, yes never, stop trying.  For all I know, there will be a way in my lifetime for me to go and see the stars up close, and then I won’t have to remember.  And if that happens, let me just tell you how I’m filming the entire freaking thing in whatever they’re calling high-definition at that point, and I’m storing copies of the video in at least ten different locations, real and virtual, just in case I develop amnesia right at the same time that there’s a fire, a flood, and a tornado and also the entire internet gets erased.  I’m not taking any more chances.

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Van Gogh, The Starry Night [image in public domain]

Happy Friday.  I hope you enjoyed my confession.  Now, if it’s Friday night and you’re actually reading this blog post, do me a favor:  go outside, look at the stars, and leave me a comment telling me what they’re like.  Do it again tomorrow night, and the night after that, and just every single night for the rest of your life because watching a starry night sky is one thing you should never, never, never take for granted.  And after you’re done, put on something fabulous and go have some fun!  That’s what I’m doing.  It’s Friday night, after all.

And if you’re asking yourself how I’m going to make this wish when I can’t see a star to wish on: that’s what faith is for.  I can’t see the stars, but I know they’re there.  How’s that for a broader theme?

10 Things I’d Rather Do Than Go To The Gym

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image in public domain  (pixabay.com)

Any time I need motivation to do some chore I’ve been putting off, all I have to do is tell myself to go to the gym, and like magic, I’m suddenly cleaning the bathroom grout. I don’t know why I hate going to the gym so much. I don’t hate actually being at the gym. Once I’m there and I’ve started exercising, I usually get into it. I certainly don’t hate the self-satisfied glow I get after I’ve been to the gym. Plus, then I get to stop off for a post-exercise smoothie and say, “I always hydrate after I work out,” and watch everyone who wasn’t at the gym look guilty.

I’ve had to start facing facts now that I can’t fit into any of my jeans. I don’t know why, but as far as getting myself to put on gym clothes and head toward the shiny, pretty building with the shiny, pretty workout equipment and the shiny, pretty people, I’d rather chew off my own hand at the wrist and use it to punch myself in the throat. Heh. I’d rather tattoo my entire face hot pink than go to the gym. Ooh! I’d rather walk through a room full of clowns than go to the gym. Hey, this is fun! I wonder what else I’d rather do than go to the gym?

Top 10 Things I’d Rather Do Than Go To The Gym

  1. Give a bath to five feral cats, all at the same time.
  2. Prepare, bake, and eat a dirty-sock pie.
  3. Find that video of me from my fourth-grade school play, the one where I’m wearing some sort of metallic tutu and have glitter on my butt, and post it on YouTube.
  4. Take a selfie. Any kind of selfie.
  5. Find the source of that weird smell in the refrigerator and lick it.
  6. Trim my toenails with my teeth.
  7. Run a resort for obese exhibitionist nymphomaniacs.
  8. Tell my parents what really happened to the Mercedes.
  9. Go through natural childbirth.
  10. Write a blog post about things I’d rather do than go to the gym.

I’ll be honest, that got a little disturbing. But we’ve all got our dark secrets; some of us just choose to make them available to anyone with an internet connection and basic literacy skills. So what is it that you would rather eat a dirty-sock pie than do? Clean out the garage? Get a tetanus booster? Go see that play your significant other is in that you’re trying to be supportive about? Come on, leave me a comment with your shameful confession. It’ll be just between us! And if you believe that, I’ve got a truly impressive workout routine I’m going to tell you I did. Now, to round up five feral cats….

Tax and Technicalities, by Rocky and Bullwinkle

I’m sure you all enjoyed tax season as much as I did!  Now here’s something I hope you’ll really like.  This post is what starts going through your head when you do your taxes while watching episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle.  If you don’t know who Rocky and Bullwinkle are, a) this post will make no sense to you, and b) get thee to Hulu!  Also, sorry in advance to all Ke$ha fans.  It’s only a joke!

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image in the public domain

Melodramatic Narration:  When we last saw our hero, the Little Blind Moose-Girl, she was submitting the tax returns prepared for her by Rocky, the Squirrelly Accountant, of Fly-By-Night CPAs–

Rocky:  Hey!  You make it sound like I’m the villain of this blog post!

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Yeah, we only call him the Squirrelly Accountant because he handles all kinds of nuts.

Rocky:  I thought it was because I help you squirrel away your money!

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Well, if that’s it, how come you let me pay you in cashews?

Rocky:  Don’t feel bad; most people pay me peanuts.

Melodramatic Narration:  *ahem* As I was saying, when we last saw our hero, she had just submitted her taxes.  Little did she know, as she went back to her daily routine of rescuing small puppies and giving them to curly-haired orphans, she was about to become a pawn in the latest scheme of that villainous secret enemy agent, Grigory Gudenov, and his new partner, Ke$ha Fatale.

Gudenov:  So, Ke$ha, you are really secret agent, like me.  I should have guessed.  Are you related to legendary Natasha Fatale, who worked with my uncle Boris?

Ke$ha:  Yes, she is my sire–I mean, mother.  She is my mother.  But wasn’t your uncle’s last name Badenov?

GudenovYes; he is my mother’s brother.  My mother married into Gudenov family of government workers and changed last name, so her brother my uncle is not Gudenov.

Ke$ha:  You can say that again, dahling!  Now, what are Fearless Leader’s orders for us?

Gudenov:  Have you forgotten already?

Ke$ha:  No, but the blog readers have.

Gudenov:  We have crucial role in Fearless Leader’s greatest scheme yet.  After decades of failing to take over country by force, he has finally come up with foolproof plan:  he will get American people to elect him president!

Ke$ha:  But Grigory, the American people will never elect Fearless Leader as president.  He’s been trying to undermine their country his entire life!

Gudenov:  Ah, but you see, Ke$ha, he will be running as Tea Party candidate.  Is perfect disguise!

Ke$ha:  Yes, what a brilliant plan!  Ah, but wait:  the President has to be a natural-born American citizen, does he not?

Gudenov:  Of course!  Fearless Leader always carries gun, blames failure on underlings, and reacts with violence when authority is questioned.  What could be more natural-born American than that?  Now, our assignment is to get money for Fearless Leader’s campaign, and I, master no-goodnik that I am, have perfect fiendish plan:  we will pose as IRS agents conducting audits.

Ke$ha:  (gasps) IRS!  Audits!  Oh, no, Grigory, even we cannot be so evil.

Gudenov:  Is for greater good, Ke$ha, is for greater good.  After all, is not like we have to be real IRS agents.

Ke$ha:  That is true, Grigory.  We have to be able to sleep at night.  Now, tell me the rest of the fiendish plan.

Gudenov:  We will pretend to work for IRS.  We will tell people they owe us money and must pay right away or we will take them to gulag–I mean prison.  If anyone asks questions, we will say is part of new executive order.  No one will suspect we are not actual legitimately, and by time real IRS figures out plan, Fearless Leader will already be in office.

Ke$ha:  Now I understand why our hackers stole all those tax returns!  Grigory, how did you think of such a cunning scheme?

Gudenov:  Is all right here in Villain’s Handbook.  See?  Page 415.

Ke$ha:  I can’t read a word of that.

Gudenov:  Of course not–is written in Tax Code!

Melodramatic Narration:  Meanwhile, back at the offices of Rocky the Squirrelly Accountant, our heroes are facing what looks like certain doom.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  I can’t understand why I’m being audited.  I submitted copies of all the travel receipts.

Rocky:  I don’t know, Little Blind Moose-Girl, maybe the IRS isn’t sure what a “Professional Johnny Depp Whereabouts and Activities Blogger” is.

Little Blind Moose-GirlBut I included the transcript from the stalking trial!

Rocky:  Well, it says here that you owe them $86,753.09 and that if you don’t pay it right away, they’re going to take you to prison.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Prison!  It says that?

Rocky:  Yes, see there?  Right after the part where the word “gulag” is scratched out.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Can they really do that?

Rocky:  It says in the letter that this is part of a new executive order, so I guess they can.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Wow.  I must have missed that episode of “Schoolhouse Rock.”  I always knew not watching more television would come back to haunt me.

Rocky:  Oh, look, the auditor’s here.  Maybe he’ll have some ideas.

(enter Grigory Gudenov, dressed in non-specific law enforcement uniform and sporting a badge, a gun, a truncheon, a crossbow, some ninja throwing stars, an axe, several sticks of dynamite, and a spreadsheet)

Gudenov:  Allow me to introducing myself:  I am Officer Gregory of your IRS Police Department.  I am here to take away your money.  I am sure we can all agree, is better to do this with peacefully, yes?  No one wants to go to gulag–I mean, prison.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  You’re a police officer?

Rocky:  He must be; look at all those weapons!

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Well, Officer Gregory, your letter really surprised me.  I still don’t understand how I can owe that much in taxes.  I mean, that’s practically a year’s supply of Red Bull!

Gudenov:  Perhaps you would like to call my supervisor, just to be sure all is on up-and-up.  She can answer any questions you have.  Her number is on letter we send you.

Rocky:  (looking at letter)  Oh, yes, here it is.  Let me just give her a call.  (Dials number)

Ke$ha:  (on phone)  Hello, Agent Fatale speaking.

Rocky:  Hello, Agent Fatal, this is Rocky the Squirrelly Accountant.  I’m here with Officer Gregory, and I’m just calling to confirm that the Little Blind Moose-Girl owes $86,753.09 in taxes.

Ke$ha:  (still on phone) It’s Fatale, and yes, Mr. Squirrel, that is correct.  Moose-Girl must pay immediately or I am afraid Officer Gregory will have to take her to the gulag–I mean, prison.

Gudenov:  There, you see?  All is legitimately and above-the-board.  As for payment, I can take cash, check, credit card, bitcoin, gold, jewelry, authenticated antiques, or healthy organs.  I cannot take stocks or young children–too much risky for return on investment.  You are understand, I am surely.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  But I don’t have enough of any of those things to pay this bill.  Does that mean I have to go to the gulag–I mean, prison?

Gudenov:  Oh, that is unhappy to hear.  It makes me crying sad, this part of my job, to ruining lives of good people like Moose-Girl.  Are you sure you cannot pay?  Perhaps you apply for credit card?

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  No, I guess I’d better just go with you.  Do you have a gulag–I mean, prison–that can accommodate my disability?

Ke$ha: (still on phone) I beg your pardon?

Gudenov:  There is disability with Moose-Girl?

Rocky:  That’s right, if you’re going to take the Little Blind Moose-Girl away, your gulag–I mean, prison–must by law provide suitable accommodations for inmates with disabilities.  I learned all about it at a presentation the ACLU gave at lunch one day.  That won’t be a problem, will it?

Gudenov:  Oh, no, no, of course not, we love ACLU, is all perfect fine–oh, look, is miscalculation.  Moose-Girl does not owe taxes and there will be no need for ACLU to asking about disability person in gulag–I mean, prison.  Allow me to seeing myself out.  Have nice day!  (runs out, followed by dust cloud and sound of slamming door)

Rocky:  Well, that’s good news!  It’s nice to see that our IRS employees are so honest and conscientious.  Will you thank Officer Gregory for us, Agent Fatal?  Agent Fatal, hello?  I guess she hung up.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  I didn’t know you’d been to a presentation by the ACLU.  Are you a member?

Rocky:  Oh, yeah.  I don’t know what I’d do without the Accounting Calculations Looker Uppers.  You know, I’d forgotten all about your disability, Little Blind Moose-Girl.  I wonder what accommodations the gulag–I mean, prison–would have to make for your blindness?

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Who said anything about blindness?  I was talking about my antlers!

Melodramatic Narrator:  Have our heroes escaped the fiendish pseudo-audit?  Will our villains return to take the Little Blind Moose-Girl to the gulag–I mean, prison??  Or will our heroes have to face the even-more-fiendish ordeal of an actual IRS audit???  Stay tuned for our next episode, The Price of Lateness, or:  It’s High Time!

(Ke$ha Fatale:)

Embed from Getty Images

Prince Was My First

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dove [image in the public domain]

How do I post to a humor blog on the day Prince died?  This is not the same world that existed yesterday.  The sky is not the same sky, the air is not the same air, and I am not the same person.  It stands to reason, I suppose:  everything Prince did changed the world.  Of course his death has done the same.

Prince was my first for a lot of things.  He sang the first song I couldn’t stop listening to, the kind you keep playing in your head even when you’re in church confessing your sins.  I remember my younger self waiting for a confessional to come available, time I was supposed to use to contemplate what bad deeds I should list for the priest, but instead I was playing “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” in my head.  My turn at confession came right after the part where Prince is telling a woman that she wouldn’t be satisfied with a one night stand.  I had to scramble into the booth and try to remember all my sins off the top of my head, and my voice was shaking so wildly that I was sure the priest could tell I’d been engaging in near-sacrilege just a few moments before.  Luckily, he regarded the stench of my guilt as a sign of desperate contrition, took pity on me, and told me I’d offered the most genuine confession he’d heard in a long time.  That’s how Prince gave me another couple of firsts:  the first time I realized that priests aren’t all-knowing (yes, I feel bad about tricking the holy man), and the first time I understood that sometimes the things and people that scare me may actually be on my side, if I let them.

I had several other memorable firsts with Prince.  When he changed his name to a symbol and wrote the word “slave” on his face to protest the way his record company treated his work, it was the first time I understood that art can not only convey a message but also fight an entire war that most people will never realize even happened.  Art history lectures in school tried to convey the same point as I nodded and took notes and memorized for the test; when Prince lived the message while I watched and listened, then I understood, and I never forgot.  Another first came from his cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” which was the first time I saw how the same thing can be perfect in more than one way, and how interpretation can be a form of authorship as valid as any.  My sister can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the first time we bonded over music our parents would definitely in no uncertain terms never understand, it was Prince.  And, yes, Prince was acting as a musical Cyrano de Bergerac the first time I had sex; for those of us of a certain age, that was practically mandatory.

It’s hard to explain Prince’s allure to anyone who doesn’t already understand, but since this is basically a eulogy, let me try to tell you why this isn’t simply a transference of nostalgia and why I’m grieving over a man I never met.  My childhood was sheltered, relatively privileged, and safe.  Then Prince came along, and he was unlike anyone I’d ever seen or heard.  He assumed his audience was intelligent, he considered danger to be essential to creativity, and he could write a four-minute pop song that had shape and texture and heft.  All the songs I’d heard B.P. (Before Prince) were sanded flat, polished smooth, and as insubstantial as the air that carried them.  A lot of what I hear today is the same.  But Prince’s music always made me think, made me feel, and made me dance–enthusiastically, if not very well.  It’s true that Prince wasn’t the first artist to pitch the rulebook and do something different, but he was the first who made me want to throw my own rulebook away.  He showed me how to find my path away from the ordinary, and then he showed me how to dance along that path while rocking five-inch electric blue satin platform heels, and now he’s gone, and the world will never be the same.

Prince being Prince, though, I don’t see death stopping him from doing his thing.  I think he’s just got a new audience.  In fact, I take strange pleasure in the thought of the Heavenly Host suddenly confronted with The Artist.  He’ll probably be using a halo as some sort of percussion instrument and asking where he can find a pair of wings with glitter.  In my mind, I see the angelic choir looking on in seraphic condescension as Prince gives his first celestial concert, and I can’t help laughing a little at the shock they’re going to feel when they turn and see God the Eternal and Omnipotent dancing on His throne, rocking out to Purple Rain.

R.I.P, Prince Rogers Nelson.  You were my first, and you were the best.

The Tweet Life

In my continuing quest for adventures that accommodate a screen reader (for those who didn’t catch the name of this blog, the blog subtitle, my username, or my avatar, I can’t see very well), I’ve recently begun to be active on Twitter.  I’m still learning my way around while pondering the revolving questions of why someone stopped following me and also why anyone follows me in the first place–hey, wait, don’t get mad and un-follow me!  I like it!  I just don’t understand it.  I also don’t understand Ozzy Osbourne, but I still like Black Sabbath.

Moving on, before I drive away any more followers:  I really just wanted to post some Before and After pictures of my burgeoning Twitter addiction, sort of like those pictures of healthy vs. diseased lungs that people show you to make you stop smoking, or those “this is your brain on drugs” commercials.  I anticipate that this blog post will have a similar success rate. So, kids, before you pick up that smart phone (the first tweet’s always free), remember my tale of woe.  Before I let Twitter take control, this was my life:

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Now, this is my life on Twitter:

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Image by Charlie Cottrell, used by permission.  (c) 2016, all rights reserved

That last image is specifically of me from when I accidentally tweeted a celebrity and I couldn’t understand why I suddenly had fifty notifications that people I’d never met had liked tweets essentially calling me an idiot.  My friend Chuck drew it to cheer me up, and I paid him back with that post about clowns (a high price, but Twitter habits aren’t cheap).

Please, learn from my example.  I know you think you’ve got it under control–a few tweets a day, with friends, just for fun; you can stop any time you like.  But it doesn’t take long before you’re waking up in the middle of the night jonesing to check your Twitter feed; then you start losing followers and can’t remember how.  After that it’s just a matter of time before you’re recklessly retweeting memes and wondering why your mother blocked your account (hint:  it may have something to do with all the memes).

Actually, in all seriousness, it’s turning out to be a lot of fun, but I do advise tweeting responsibly.  When it’s 3 a.m. and you’ve had a few drinks, it’s going to seem like a good idea to tweet your ex-BF’s new girlfriend “just to warn her.”  It’s not.  Trust me on this, for I am now an expert on all things Twitter (I am not an expert on all things Twitter).  Also, stop tweet-stalking your ex-BF.  That’s just rude, and I’m definitely an expert on being rude!

You Can’t Say That In Catholic School!

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Not me.  I’ve got red hair. [image in the public domain]

I attended Catholic school in my halcyon days, and before you ask, no, I don’t still have the uniform.  Despite being a bright student, I somehow gained a reputation as a troublemaker and ended up in hot holy water surprisingly often.  I didn’t exactly mean to be difficult in school, at least not most of the time, but even then I tended to be both curious and rational, which is just awkward around nuns.  It’s especially dispiriting when said nuns have the ability to punish you for perceived disobedience when you’re asking what you think is a perfectly fair question.

My most frequent punishment was probably praying the rosary, which the nuns claimed was intended for reflection and self-correction and I claimed was more likely to produce tedium and resentment.  For which I was punished.  Not with the rosary, though, which was at least a change of pace.  Anyway, I thought I would share with you the things I said that I remember getting me in the most trouble in Catholic school, and what my punishment was for saying them:

6.   What I said: (regarding Adam’s lineage through Noah)  I just don’t think a family tree should be shaped like a circle.

Punishment:  Pray the Rosary and contemplate the nature of faith.  I’m still not sure how this addresses the problem of repeated inbreeding.

5.    What I said:  (regarding the virgin birth; for full effect, imagine this as being said by a bratty 7-year-old)  See, my mom used to teach sex ed, so I know that’s not how it works.

Punishment:  Ten Ave Marias and an essay on the Holy Trinity.  I think there may also have been a letter to my parents.

4.    What I said:  (regarding the Beatitude that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’)  What if the meek don’t want the Earth?

[Side note:  a fundamental flaw I failed to grasp at the time is that you can’t really count on the meek to be forthright about that]

Punishment:  repeat the Beatitudes and reflect on the sinfulness of pride, which didn’t really answer my question

3.    What I said:  (regarding the Great Flood)  What about all the animals that could swim?

Punishment:  Pray the rosary and reflect on God’s omnipotence.  Again, not terribly instructive.  Could have used another hint.

2.   What I said:  Wait a minute.  If the Bible says the Earth is less than ten thousand years old, and you’re telling me that the Bible is right about everything, then how come we have a test this afternoon on dinosaurs?

Punishment:  For this one, I only had to stay in at lunch and study for the test, which worked out well because I hadn’t actually done any studying up to that point.  Note:  That was probably not the intended moral lesson.

1.    What I said:  If God and Heaven are above us and the Devil and Hell are below us, how come we look down when we pray?

Punishment:  I don’t remember what my punishment was for this one, I just remember being really, really sorry.

These were all genuine questions.  Except for #5, which was more of an objection, but an entirely genuine one.  I think that’s really how the Protestant Reformation came about; Martin Luther kept trying to ask the nuns about things he didn’t understand, but they kept making him pray the rosary, so eventually he just nailed his objections to the church door.  I, being much less enterprising (read:  lazy), am posting to my blog.  I’m also not starting a new religion (see earlier parenthetical comment re:  lazy).  Also, commenters, please have mercy and don’t reply with serious explanations to Past Little Blind Girl’s theological questions.  I’ve been punished enough.

What To Do When You’re Attacked By Clowns

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Know your enemy [image in the public domain]

I’m not afraid of clowns.  I simply acknowledge the fact that they’re evil.  I have a recurring dream in which I’m being menaced by a clown in full clown regalia, really slowly, and no one tries to stop it.  I used to think that this was because either a) no one liked me, which I haven’t ruled out, or b) everyone else was too scared of the clown to try to help me, which may also be true.  Upon deeper reflection, however, I think it’s most likely just because no one knows what to do when clowns attack.  We’re all too busy planning for the zombie apocalypse to prepare a defense against the imminent threat posed by those jumbo-shod, red-nosed, smirking agents of evil.  Let’s face it:  the clown apocalypse is inevitable, isn’t it?

To save the world from that crimson-wigged, pasty-faced, baggy-trousered scourge, and also so my dream self will know what to do in the future, I took the time to analyze the most common battle-clown tactics and strategies.  I then devised countermeasures just as soon as I’d stopped screaming.  But not crying, because I wasn’t crying, I don’t care what you thought you saw.  Because I am heroic and selfless, and because next time I’m dreaming about clowns I’d like you to get off your duff and do something about it, I will now share these plans with you so that we can work together when the clowns decide that the moment is ripe for their attack.  For heaven’s sake, don’t share this with the clowns.  In fact, you should make sure that no clowns are around while you’re reading this.  Did you check behind you?  Clowns love to sneak up from behind.  There could be a clown lurking behind you right this very second.  Go on, check.  I’ll wait.

A moment of silence, please, for the ones who discovered the clowns behind them just that little bit too late.

Okay:  for the survivors, here’s what I’ve learned.  Clowns are crafty, scary not scary but nefarious, terrifying not terrifying but depraved, and evil.  Really, really evil.  But they do have weaknesses, and they can be fought.  The two most effective methods of defense against clowns target the following weaknesses:

 1.  The tiny clown car

As we all know, clowns travel in packs, and they use those ridiculously small cars to fit dozens of clowns into an area designed to accommodate maybe two people.  They do this by manipulating the subatomic particles in their bodies into acting like they’re just empty space, thus bypassing the laws of physics and enabling the clowns to all occupy the same seat and thereby squeeze twenty clowns into a teeny, tiny car.

The manipulation of subatomic particles is a delicate process and requires perfect concentration.  Disrupt that concentration at a crucial moment, for instance just after the clown car narrowly avoids a humorous obstacle, and the entire pack of clowns will implode.  And possibly start a new universe, but no plan is perfect.

For maximum disruption, I recommend placing a small clown doll in the path of the car.  The clowns will become confused, thinking it’s an actual clown, and will believe it’s time to leave the car before they’re ready.  The clowns will then panic, lose concentration, and implode, with any luck taking the doll with them.  Finally, a use for Clown Barbie.

2.  The ridiculously oversized shoes

I know, you thought I was going to say the pasty white makeup. If you wash off the makeup, the clown will lose its powers, right?  The truth is, while I treasure the thought of a clown getting blasted in the face with a pressure hose, it turns out that underneath the makeup is just more makeup; you’ll never get through all of it before the clown gets you with that plastic flower that they claim only squirts water, but actually coats you with a slow-acting venom that gradually turns you into one of their hapless minions, also known as mimes.  Why do you think mimes are always acting like they’re trapped in things?  Poor devils.

No, if you can’t get the clown car, what you want to go for is the shoes.  Contrary to popular belief, clowns don’t have big feet.  Their oversized shoes are where they put the mind-control devices that keep everyone from perceiving them as a threat.  These devices have gotten so good that, not only do we not run away in terror at the very sight of them, we actually laugh, clap, and pay them money for the privilege of infiltrating our society.

The mind-control devices don’t work on children, though, which is why children start crying and screaming when they see clowns.  What you want to do if the clowns make it out of the car is this:  find out what the latest overpriced toy fad is, grab the nearest kid, and tell him there’s a furby/razor scooter/Tickle-Me-Elmo in the clowns’ shoes.  A kid’s greed will always outweigh his fear, which is how so many parents get their kids to go to the dentist.  Once the kids tear into the shoes, the mind control devices will go offline and the adults can recognize the threat and take action.  They won’t need to, though, because the children will have torn the clowns to shreds by that point looking for the toy.  I almost feel sorry for the freaky-wigged creeps.  Hey, I said almost.

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The nose houses the inter-clown communication system.  If you can, pull it off and leave it in a bar on Karaoke Night [image in the public domain]

So when the time comes and the clowns attack, make sure you’ve laid in a stock of clown dolls and rugrats.  In fact, you might want to start training your children right away to attack any clowns they meet, just so you’re ready when the time comes.  Oh, and make sure you film your kids when they come across a clown and go all Manchurian Candidate.  And upload the videos to YouTube.  I like to fall asleep to the sound of clowns wailing in agony.  Hey, we’ve all got our bedtime rituals!

This post has been brought to you by the good people at Charlie Cottrell’s blog (Sketches From Memory), who wanted a post about clowns.  Chuck, don’t say I never did nothing for you.  And let me know how that clown gladiatorial arena‘s coming.  Now that’s entertainment!