Writing 201: Consider using an object as a way “in” to the story


Doing something a bit different today at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.  I’m participating in the Writing 201 workshop over at the Daily Post. You can read all about the workshop in the post titled “Getting the Most Out Of Workshopping: A Writing 201 Primer.”

Anyway, here’s a link to today’s post for the workshop: “Writing 201: What’s Your Angle?” and I am responding to the following prompt:

5) Consider using an object as a way “in” to the story.

Writer Andrea Badgley suggests that objects hold their own stories — that any object can be a talisman infused with meaning.

______________________________________________________________________________

Excerpt

There were two sofas in the visitor’s lounge of the Dripping Springs Treatment Center and Eugenie carefully weighed the pros and cons of each before deciding where to sit.

The green striped sofa, near the bulky beige heating unit that let out a low buzzing sound whenever it kicked on as if it were powered by a swarm of yellow jackets, had a large indeterminate stain that spread from one seat cushion to the next, in the shape of the state of North Dakota.  The bright red sofa, next to three potted plants that appeared to be in the final stages of some withering disease, was free of stains, although located in the decidedly cooler temperatures near a pair of drafty windows.  Since she had worn a sweater, Eugenie sat down on the red sofa and folded her hands in her lap.  She turned her wrist to check the time on her United States Postal Service Commemorative watch.  Her sister, Wynetta, was running late again.

Eugenie spotted LaVella first, as soon as the older woman appeared in the doorway.  Watching her mother walk toward her, Eugenie realized sobriety did not wear well on LaVella Johnston.

Off the wagon, LaVella took great pains in maintaining her appearance, carefully applying makeup and styling her hair each day.  Some of Eugenie’s earliest memories were of sitting alongside LaVella at her dressing table, watching her mother, a tumbler of Johnny Walker in one hand and a mascara wand in the other, skillfully applying makeup in ways Eugenie would never master.

In the grip of sobriety, LaVella was almost unrecognizable.  Her skin was dry, and she had dark circles under her eyes.  Her hair was wild, desperately trying to escape a headband she wore in an unsuccessful attempt to restrain it.  Her figure, still admirable at her age, was hidden in a pair of baggy blue jeans and a frumpy sweater with a large appliqué of a lobster sewn on it.  Eugenie had not seen her mother in that particular sweater before.

“I got it out of the donation pile,” LaVella explained, sitting in an armchair across from her daughter as she picked lint off the front of the sweater.  “It looked better in the pile than it does on.”  LaVella lifted the sweater up to her nose and sniffed it.  “Smells a little like dog, too.”

“Didn’t we pack enough clothes for you?  You shouldn’t be taking things from donations.  I’ll bring more next time I come.”

LaVella waved her daughter off.  “No, no.  I’ve got a system.  I’ve always hated doing the damn laundry, and the best thing about this place is that when I run out of clean clothes, I just pick some more up from the donation pile.”

“But they aren’t clean!  They smell like dog!”

LaVella shrugged off her daughter’s objection.  “You get used to it after awhile.”  She looked at Eugenie and smiled.  “You look tan and rested.  I see that vacation did you some good.  Tell me all about La Costa Laguna, starting with the open bar.  Did they serve those fancy drinks with the fruit and the paper umbrellas in them every night?”  LaVella’s eyes were bright with excitement.

Eugenie filled her mother in about her vacation, leaving out the parts about alcoholic beverages and any mention of Guillermo.  She showed her mother some of the dark, blurry and unfocused photos she had kept on her phone, having to explain each picture as her mother squinted and turned her head sideways in an effort to decipher the images.

“I guess it looks like you had fun,” LaVella said as she leaned back in her chair.  “And now what’s all this I hear about you calling off the wedding?”

Eugenie didn’t bother to ask how her mother, locked away in a treatment facility and supposedly focused on getting sober, would even know about the break up.  This was Dripping Springs, and everyone knows everything.

Eugenie took a deep breath and was about to explain that Virgil Jr. had called off the wedding, although she was just about to call if off herself, anyway, she really was, when Wynetta finally showed up, the click of her heels on the tile floor announcing her arrival as she swiveled her hips toward them.

“Mom, you look absolutely awful!” Wynetta said. She looked from one sofa to the next, and then opted to stand. “What are they doing to you here?”

______________________________________________________________________________

Goal To reveal a bit more about the three characters and their relationships, through their conversation and the objects (furniture, clothing) around them.

My Questions My first question, always: “Is it funny?” ;) My second question in regards to today’s post, “Writing 201: What’s Your Angle?” is how successful am I in achieving the goal?

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I Am Not A New Adult

I have a shameful secret that I feel I must reveal and where else does one reveal a shameful secret but to their therapist on their blog?

I haven't read any of these books.
I haven’t read any of these books.

Here is my shameful secret: I don’t really read many books.

Apparently this blog has been misleading readers into believing that I read books.  How did that happen? I look up at my blog title. Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, PleaseNo, no mention of books there. How about the tagline? Humor and Sex. Mostly Sex. No, no books there, either. Let’s take a look at some of the blog posts: here’s one about sex. Here’s one about having sex with robots. Oh, here’s another one about sex.

In scrolling through the list of popular categories I’ve written about, sex tops the list, but books comes in at an astonishing fifth place, after humor, dating, and relationships. I guess that fifth place showing makes the blog enough about books to attract the attention of an desperate editor for an desperate independent publisher who

More books I haven't read.
More books I haven’t read.

contacted me to request a review of a soon to be published New Adult title.

A New Adult title?

I’m old enough to remember when the word “Adult” was a synonym for sex, e.g. adult films or adult subject matter, so I was intrigued at the possibility of reading a book in the category of “New Sex.”

And “New Adult” does sort of mean “New Sex.” From a New York Times article attempting to define the genre, “Beyond Wizards and Vampires to Sex”:

They’ve labeled this category “new adult” — which some winkingly describe as Harry Potter meets “50 Shades of Grey” — and say it is aimed at 18-to-25-year-olds, the age group right above young adult.

So the New Adult genre is attempting to satisfy the older readers of Young Adult novels that have been bitching about the lack of explicit sex among JK Rowling’s wizards, Suzanne Collins’ tributes, and John Green’s pediatric cancer patients.

I may look like I'm reading, but I'm actually taking a nap.
I may look like I’m reading, but I’m actually taking a nap.

At 33, I’ve aged out of the cohort that publishers are trying to reach with this genre, so I’ll be passing on the opportunity to review (for free) this New Adult novel. Actually, that “for free” bit was the sticking point, not so much my age.  I like to think I’m a New Adult 30-something, which is way sexier than a regular Adult 30-something.

Still, for a moment, I entertained the suggestions the editor included in her email:

If you’d like to talk with the author regarding a guest blog, an interview, a giveaway, or other promo in conjunction with your review, let me know! We’re always happy to do promo with bloggers, assuming the author’s schedule permits.

But that would mean I would have to read the book.

Royalty free images, including the ones in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

 

The Letters That No One Needed To See

I never wanted to think about U.S. Presidents having sex.

When our disastrous glorious forty fourth president, Barack Obama, was elected and his wife became the First Lady I remember reading an anonymous comment posted somewhere that at least now we have a couple in the White House who we, the American people, can imagine having sex.

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I think I’m working on the Octomom’s car!

At the time I read the comment, I wondered what sort of person had been longing to imagine the President having sex. Long time (even short time) readers of this blog will probably think that I am exactly that sort of person, but, honestly, I only want to think about, let’s say, James Franco having sex. Or that cute auto mechanic with the perfect white teeth who rotated my tires (“No charge,” he said, smiling) when I brought my Mom car luxury SUV that seats nine in for its annual safety inspection. (“Wow, you must have a lot of kids!” he said, his smile fading as he looked past me.  “Only two!” I felt compelled to respond in an effort to regain his attention. “That’s hardly any at all! And they’re small.” I put my hand out and held it very low to the ground to indicate how tiny my offspring are. “Really, you barely notice them.”)

So I never wanted to think about the Presidents of these United States having sex. I wanted to think about him (or her) solving the latest Mideast crisis, or the latest debt crisis or the NCAA Bowl Championship Series crisis. I don’t want to imagine her (or him) naked and sweaty and saying stupid stuff like, “You look shorter naked.”

But how am I supposed to not think about Presidents having sex now that we have the private letters of Warren G. Harding to read? From the New York Times article, “The Letters That Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See.”

The correspondence is intimate and frank — and perhaps the most sexually explicit ever by an American president. Even in the age of Anthony Weiner sexts and John Edwards revelations, it still has the power to astonish. In 106 letters, many written on official Senate stationery, Harding alternates between Victorian declarations of love and unabashedly carnal descriptions. (While Phillips’s notes and some drafts of her letters have been preserved, her actual replies were not.) The president often wrote in code, in case the letters were discovered, referring to his penis as Jerry and devising nicknames, like Mrs. Pouterson, for Phillips.

Four score and seven years ago, I had a boner
Four score and seven years ago, I had a boner

After reading that article, it’s all I can do to make it through the day without thinking about having sex with a President. I’ve been thinking about French kissing George Washington and his wooden teeth, wondering how Teddy Roosevelt really got the nickname “Rough Rider” (in my mind, it has nothing to do with the charge up San Juan Hill), soaping up with William Howard Taft in his custom-made-for-fat-Presidents bath tub, and feeding Jimmy Carter peanuts while we’re both naked. And every single one of the wartime presidents would have to endure my discussion of military strategy in post coital pillow chats when all they really wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep.

I guess we should be thankful that modern technology has all but banished letter writing to the dust bin of history. At least now the American people will be spared reading about the intimate details of some future President’s private life.  Now if we can just get politicians to stop taking dick pics . . .

You can read more about Warren G. Harding and Jerry the Penis in The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage During the Great War.

A portrait of President Harding.  No portrait of Jerry exists, thankfully.
A portrait of President Harding. No portrait of Jerry exists, thankfully.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG. The photo of President Harding comes from whitehouse.gov.

Finger Lickin’ Con

Do you ever stop and wonder just how gullible people are?

Seven Herbs and Spices and a $30,000 check for Internet Extortion.
Yes, it is finger lickin’ good, but you’ll have to go elsewhere on account of your face.

I had to stop and wonder about this, again, when I read about the Internet Outrage of the Week, Little Girl Kicked Out of KFC. Quick summary: Grandma claims heartless Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC workers kicked her and her three year old granddaughter out of some Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC in Mississippi after another customer complained about the girl’s disfiguring facial scars, suffered back in April when the girl was attacked by Granpa’s pitbulls. Auntie posts the incident on Facebook, donations flood in to the tune of $130,000 and Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC promises $30,000 and an investigation.

I read the story and was reminded of previous Internet Outrages of the Week.  Perhaps you remember the Red Lobster waitress,Toni Christina Jenkins, in Tennessee who logged onto Facebook to post a picture of a customer’s receipt with the N word written in place of a tip amount. And just to show that the Northeast, home of Eastern Elitism, is not immune to this phenomenon, Dayna Morales, a waitress in New Jersey, claimed that a customer wrote this novel note on the receipt in lieu of leaving a tip: “Sorry, I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life.” Morales must be the last living person not to have a Facebook account so her story did not go viral until Have a Gay Day posted it on their Facebook.

Now my curriculum vitae includes the double misfortune of having waitressed and also worked in the fast food industry and all the stories sounded, well, odd to me when I first heard them.  My experience one long, horrible summer working as the “Fry Girl” (I scooped french fries into their cartons during the lunch rush) at Wendy’s™ had taught me that customers who eat fast food want to eat food fast, they don’t sit around the dining area observing the other patrons to determine who might offend their sensibilities enough to disturb the digestion of a Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe, ordered off the Dollar Menu (since my sojourn at Wendy’s™, there’s been a name change and it’s now the Right Price, Right Size Menu and it costs you a $1.49). And also, fast food workers lack both the initiative to respond as well as act on customer complaints, so if someone did complain (which was unlikely), it was hard for me to believe that an employee of the restaurant would do anything.

As for waitressing, a few customers tip well, a few don’t tip at all, but most give the standard 15-20%. No one ever wrote me any offensive messages on the receipt, unless we count that dorky guy who wrote his phone number that one time. Considering the sort of waitress I was, someone probably should have taken a moment to give me some helpful career advice such as “You suck!” on the tip line.  Diners are more concerned about the food, their date, whether they’ll make the movie on time, why their car makes that weird noise every time they turn right, or just about anything other than their server. I really doubted that someone would communicate their racism or homophobia using the forum of a restaurant receipt.

Here's some money, Internet Stranger.  I hope you feel better.
Here’s some money, Internet Stranger. I hope you feel better.

As you may have guessed, both stories turned out to be hoaxes: the Red Lobster customer came forward to proclaim that he was no racist, just cheap, and had stiffed the waitress and wrote nothing on the tip line and a New Jersey couple contacted the news media with their copy of the receipt showing an $18 tip on a $93 check and no reference to “lifestyle.” Unfortunately, the stories weren’t debunked until Jenkins got $10,000 and Morales $3,000 from strangers on the Internet who had heard about their (fake) plights.

And I suspected this KFC story would turn out to be untrue as well. By Wednesday, the results of the internal investigation were released. From the Washington Post“Viral Story of Disfigured Girl Kicked Out of KFC Was a Hoax”:

Security camera footage from that KFC and another near the hospital did not show children matching Victoria’s description going into either restaurant on May 15, according to sources interviewed by the Leader-Call. Nor did any orders taken that day include both sweet tea and mashed potatoes – what Mullins claimed she ordered for her granddaughter.

I guess my interest in this story and others like it comes from the fact that we are so quick to believe the worst about our fellow human beings (“Of course some idiot complained about a scarred girl, and of course the idiot fast food workers kicked the poor girl out!”) and also our willingness to give money to strangers on the Internet, while we walk by homeless people warming themselves over heating grates in Center City Philadelphia (ok, maybe you haven’t done that, but I’ll admit that I have).

Or maybe I’m the one who’s believing the worst about my fellow human beings when I’m skeptical about the story of a scarred girl in Mississippi.

If You Ban Sex, I’m Going To Take My Ball and Go Home

 

My leftovers will look deceptively edible!
A deal at any price!

As an American, I’ve found it hard to get aroused excited about the 2014 FIFA World Cup, currently being held in and around Rio de Janeiro.  Oh, wait. I better take a moment to explain to my American readers what I’m talking about: the World Cup is this global soccer football soccer tournament held every four years.  A really big thing in other places not located in the United States.  It really is.  I know, I can’t believe it, either, but I’m not shitting you, it’s a very big deal.  I even saw a huge pile of US team jerseys for sale at Costco this past weekend that I, along with all the other shoppers, ignored as we headed off to buy the 42 pound bag of Scoop Away cat litter and the 128-piece Rubbermaid food storage set.

1998163_full-prtEvery so often, I’ll come across a World Cup news story that is so unusual that it piques even my American interest. For example, I was particularly startled by this story, US Team Defeats Ghana. After reading that headline, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  Yes, the United States team, led by their captain, Clint Dempsey, managed to win its opening match on Monday!  My red white and blue heart swells with national pride. On the flip side, how depressed is the entire nation of Ghana right now?  I mean, they lost to the Americans.  The Americans!

I’m not sure why Americans, who are exceptional at every thing else, suck at soccer football soccer. Perhaps it has something to do with what you have to do to be good at it. From cbssports.com:

Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera wants his team thinking about football during the World Cup, not sex.

As such, Herrera has banned his team from having sex during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

You can't even get to first base in this game!
Ooooooh. Now I understand why they never score.

And the Mexicans went out and beat Cameroon, 1-0, last Friday. Then the Mexican team went on to play one of the tournament’s favorites, Brazil, to a tie on Tuesday. Those of us here at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please can only hope that their powers of abstinence are waning. And if the Mexicans lose their next match, I’m calling a victory for sex.

Go Croatia!

You can catch all the exciting World Cup action televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 and streamed on WatchABC and WatchESPN.  Or you can watch paint dry.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.  The image of the happy lady with all her lovely plastic containers comes the Rubbermaid website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.  The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil official poster is used in accordance with the guidelines published here.

 

Sex The Americans Style

I’ve been watching a lot of sex on television lately, and it’s almost all doggy style.

The other day I was binge-watching, which is the the way I consume almost all of my television in the 21st century.  I’m sure when I’m older I’ll bore regale my grandchildren with tales of how once there was a time when there was absolutely no sex on television and the entire family would gather together in the living room each evening to watch shows that were only broadcast once, or at least not again until summer reruns.

Yes, I can hardly wait for the day when I’ll be sounding just like that really old guy in line behind me at the supermarket who noticed I was buying a six pack of Coke Zero and decided to share this scintillating fact from his youth: “Back then you could get a Dr. Pepper for a dime!”

Anyway, as I was saying, there’s a lot of doggy-style sex on TV.  The position is also known as “the congress of the cow” according to the Kama Sutra but I’m not recommending you use that term because no one wants to think about cows during sex.  Of course, I’m not sure anyone wants to think about dogs during sex, either, except maybe other dogs.

DIGITAL CAMERA
Even cows don’t like to think about cows during sex. We think about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

But there I was stuck thinking about dogs and sex after having seen not one, not two, but three instances of rear entry sex while binge watching the second season of the Cold War period drama, The Americans. It all happened in episode six, “Behind the Red Door.” Apparently what’s “behind the red door” is lots and lots of coitus more ferarum. First we see married Russian spies Philip and Elizabeth spicing up their sex life with role play and “wild sex,” which seems to mean nothing more than “doggy style sex.”  Next, we see Nicaraguan super-spy Lucia bent over a desk looking up at a portrait of Ronald Reagan on the wall while congressional aid Carl gives it to her from behind.  Finally, as the episode ends, Philip stumbles upon a couple having sex out on a fire escape (I think) and they, as well, are doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel.

As luck would have it, while I’m thinking about dogs and sex and whether or not my butt looks as good as Keri Russell’s when I’m lying face down on a bed, I came across this article over on Slate, “‘Doggy Style’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means.”

And the article was right!  “Doggy style” is nothing like what I thought! In fact, it’s absolutely horrible, with the poor boy-dog being stuck inside the poor girl-dog for up to an hour (an hour!) afterwards.  From the article:

Apparently, dogs doing it for the first time can get a little freaked out about the prolonged attachment, as do first-time dog breeders. If you should ever find yourself in this situation, The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds suggests you prevent the female dog from trying to rip free from the male, because doing so can cause serious injury to the penis. Breeding websites recommend you get down on the floor and comfort the female.

I need some comforting just from reading that paragraph!

I’ve never been a fan of the position, anyway, because I need to see the man’s my husband’s face while we’re doing it, just to make sure he’s not thinking about some other woman, or dogs or cows, while he’s having sex with me.

You can see more doggy style sex, and maybe more of Keri Russell’s ass, on The Americans Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.

I Got Paid for Writing on the Internet

What would the internet do if everyone stopped giving away their work for free?
What would the internet do if everyone stopped giving away their work for free?

 

A while back, I decided to stop writing for free.

There were a number of factors that drove this decision:

  • I started working, off and on, with a labor law attorney and began thinking seriously about the relationship between capital (most likely, your boss, or your boss’s boss) and labor (most likely, you) for the first time since I dated that Marxist in college. The Marxist’s name was Paul and he quoted The Communist Manifesto and also introduced me to free internet porn.
  • I’ve long been troubled by the fact that so many creative people (and porn sites! but, um, this doesn’t bother me as much) give their work away for free on the internet.
  • I’ve been giving my work away for free on Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.
  • I left this comment on the post It’s Not Personal, It’s the (Writing) Business on Barb Taub’s blog, barbtaub.

I agree 1000% with what you’ve written here, and I always argue (in vain) with people that giving your work away free does not lead to anyone ever paying for it. But the stark reality is this: their work isn’t good enough for someone to pay for.

  • I knew suspected my work might be good enough for someone to pay for.

All these thoughts were rolling through my head on one of the days I wasn’t trolling the internet for free porn when I came across the pop culture site whatculture!  Whatculture.com features articles about television, movies, music, sport (it’s a British site, so they call it “sport” as though there were only one, and if there were only one, they would probably want to call it “football” instead of “soccer”) and professional wrestling.  I ignored the professional wrestling stuff when I saw the “Compose An Article & Get Paid” in the upper right corner of my screen.

So I did compose an article and get paid (you can read about the process whereby you, too, can compose an article and get paid here).

And this is the article I wrote: Game of Thrones: Ten Things to Do While Waiting for Season Four.

Monopoly money
I have not quite three of these jingling in my pocket!

 

That article wound up getting around 7,000 pageviews which resulted in a payment of £2.89, which is $4.81 in real money.

As you can tell by the grin on my face, I’m absolutely thrilled that 7,000 nerds on the internet clicked on something I wrote, and the $4.81 (I’ll have to search under the cushions of my sofa to make up the difference for a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks) is absolutely the sweetest bit of coin I’ve ever earned.

 

 

But don’t worry.  I’m not going to start charging you for reading Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

It’s 3am, I Must Be Up Reading Your Blog

Daily Post at WordPress.com

The Daily Prompt from the Daily Post for February 26:

What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMAGINARY.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

I’m one of those people who not only remembers my dreams, but I’m also annoying enough to tell you about them, in excruciating detail, over breakfast.

“. . . and then all my teeth started to fall out,” I’ll say to you while you’re waiting for your cup of coffee to cool enough to drink.

“And they felt like shards of broken glass in my mouth,” I’ll continue, even though you’re not even listening anymore, you’re thinking about how your period is late and that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to hook up with Brad after all.  Or else you’re thinking about how the dog’s breath has been smelling like poop lately and you should make an appointment with the vet for her after work.

But there I am, my voice droning on, still detailing my dream to you, as though I haven’t even noticed your eyes glazing over.  Sometimes I’ll even add dramatic hand gestures to my story telling, pantomiming the dream sequence.

“So I had to spit them out of my mouth and into my hand, one by one, like this.” I hold my hands before my mouth and make several loud “Ptooey!” noises.

“And then I held my hands out for everyone to see.” I hold out my palms to you and then, with only a slight hesitation, you lean forward to check to see if there are any teeth there.  There are not.  It was only a dream.

"Mmmm, of course I'll be your girlfriend, James Franco."
“Mmmm, of course I’ll be your girlfriend, James Franco.”

My husband is one of those people who never remembers his dreams.

“Not even the sex ones?” I asked.

“No, not even the sex ones, ” he said.

“Ok, well, then let me tell you about this sex dream I had last night . . .” Fortunately, this particular sex dream co-starred my husband (they don’t always).

Anyway, I’ve always assumed that people, like my husband, who don’t remember their dreams are rational and no-nonsense.  Meanwhile, people who do remember their dreams, like me, are creative and maybe a little bit dippy.

Now along comes this study, “Resting Brain Activity Varies with Dream Recall Frequency Between Subjects”, published last week in the scientific journal, Neuropsychopharmacologythat says that I’m all wrong.  Dream recall has nothing to do with being creative!  It’s merely a matter of how soundly one sleeps.  From the Washington Post article on the research:

In general, dream recall is thought to require some amount of wakefulness during the night for the vision to be encoded in longer-term memory. But it is not known what causes some people to wake up more than others.

So people who wake up a lot at night have the opportunity to remember their dreams and store them in long term memory so they can recall them later, while people who sleep through until the alarm clock goes off never get that chance.

This makes perfect sense to me, because I remember my dreams and I never sleep through the night! In fact, you may have noticed the odd time stamps on the comments I leave on your blog and you’ve been scratching your head wondering what time zone I live in.  Is it Brunei Darussalam Time? How about Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight Time?  No, it’s Eastern Standard Time and it really is 3am and I’m up reading your blog.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

Tin Pan Anniversary

Like a railroad train bearing down on me in an episode of a silent movie serial, my wedding anniversary is fast approaching.

I’ve long struggled with what to give my husband for the day that will live in infamy our anniversary and find myself consulting those lists of traditional gifts each year.  You can find out what you’re supposed to give (or get) every year here. For those of you who don’t know how the internet works, I’ll provide the list for the first ten years of marriage:

  1. Paper
  2. Cotton
  3. Leather
  4. Fruit, flowers
  5. Wood
  6. Sugar
  7. Copper, wool
  8. Bronze
  9. Pottery, willow
  10. Tin
I knew I should have gotten him the DVD!
How am I supposed to wrap this?

Looks like last year I was supposed to give him a piece of pottery or a willow.  A willow?   Yes, a willow.  I wonder if that means the tree or the filmI guess it doesn’t matter since we both forgot our anniversary last year.  About a week later I finally remembered that I’d forgotten, but since he didn’t even remember that he forgot, I decided to save this bit of information to use against him in our next argument (“Not only did you leave the toilet seat up, but you forgot our anniversary, you bastard!”)

So this year it looks like I’m supposed to give him something made of tin.  Amazon.com suggests the “luxurious” Bentley’s Finest Tea Classic Collection Tin Gift Set (certified Kosher!), as well as tin cufflinks and a photo frame (“Cheap looking and definitely not what was expected” writes one disappointed customer).

I guess any of those ideas would be better than what one Pennsylvania couple decided to do together to commemorate their three-week (here I am, worrying about what to give for ten years of marriage while other couples celebrate their marriages as a weekly event!) anniversary.  From the NY Daily News:

They celebrated their three-week wedding anniversary and Veteran’s Day by killing a man for the thrill of it, according to police.

Elytte Barbour, 22, and his 18-year-old bride, Miranda, are charged with murder for the Nov. 11 killing of Troy LaFerrara, 42, a man who answered the woman’s Craigslist ad offering companionship in the form of “delightful conversation.”

I’ve warned you all about Craigslist before in the posts You Really Can Find Anything on CraigslistAdventures in Babymaking and Too Stupid to Live but I guess poor, doomed Troy LaFerrara was not a follower of Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please . Let his life (and death) be a lesson to you all to keep on following my blog.

As if murdering a stranger off Craigslist to celebrate your anniversary isn’t shocking enough, Mrs. Barbour is now claiming to be a mass-murdering Satanist.  Because, you know, why not?  I’m sure she has nothing better to do than think up crazy bullshit while lying around her cell waiting for trial.

As for me, I’m lying around wondering if it’s too much to hope my husband will forget about our anniversary again this year.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

Who’s in Charge Here, Anyway?

I made the mistake of clicking on this link, GOP congressman’s book: ‘The wife is to voluntarily submit’ to her husband, only because I thought it would be a kinky BDSM sex story.  I was disappointed to find that it was just more of the same-old reactionary blather from a Republican Congressman about how his marriage is better than my marriage on account of submission.  Or subjugation.  Or subshrubs, or something.  (Subshrub is actually a word, I’m not making it up.  It’s a synonym for bush, which brings me right around the circle back to sex, I think.)

The supposed inspiration for the congressman’s ideas for connubial bliss comes from the book of Ephesians, chapter five, verses 22-24.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

It's a metaphor. No, it's supposed to be taken literally.  No, it's a metaphor . . .
It’s a metaphor. No, it’s supposed to be taken literally. No, it’s a metaphor . . .

I never understood why Christians take certain passages of the Bible literally while other passages are meant metaphorically.  How am I supposed to know to submit to my husband in everything, and also know not  to gouge out my own eyes when I sin (Mark 9:47)? Long-time (even short-time) readers of this blog know that I enjoy a bit of sinning now and then, and I don’t think my husband is going to be happy being married to a woman with two bloody eye sockets, no matter how much I submit.

It’s all very confusing.

But I want my marriage to be as happy as Congressman Pearce’s, so I’m willing to give this submission thing a go.  I went to the store and bought what I needed before approaching my husband with this new idea to improve our marriage.

“What do you think you’re doing with those handcuffs and nipple clips?” he asked me.

I pointed to Congressman Pearce’s book on the coffee table.  I know.  I know.  You thought I already understood that the Congressman didn’t mean that sort of submission, but I was counting on the fact that my husband had not bothered to read the book.

We'll have Twizzlers for dessert.
It’s what’s for dinner.

“He doesn’t mean that kind of submission,” my husband said.  Drat!  He had read the book.  “I think he means I’m supposed to command you to make what I want for dinner and stuff like that.”

I threw the handcuffs and nipple clips down in disgust.  “Forget about it!  We’re not eating bacon cheeseburgers and malted milk balls for dinner every night!”

My husband moved closer to me.  “What about doing that thing with your tongue that I like?”

“I save that for your birthday.”

My husband thought hard about how else he could get me to submit.  Finally, something occurred to him.  “How about you let me watch that public television special on model trains?”

“All right.  But not on the big TV.  You can watch on the little one, upstairs in the attic, by yourself.”

My husband smiled and nodded and then climbed the three flights of stairs to our musty attic where he watched his television program alone.

Maybe this submission thing really is good for your marriage.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNGThe image of the box of Whoppers® is taken from Hershey corporate website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.

 

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