Thursday, December 30, 2010

I am the disembodied head inside your Jalapeño pickle can!

I have been pickled, and I am bitter.

Greetings, I am a deeesembodied head that has been pickled in jalapeño brine. As a result, I am very sullen and considerably filled with loathing and rageful thoughts. My name is La Morena, the Brunette. Although I was once a blonde before being cruelly and sadly peeeckled.

My life is dismal and sad, and I am radically pissed. Do you not see me casting a dark look of aspersion into the far and unreachable distance? I am thinking of my former lover, who would not care to see me now! Ah, he would spurn me with his booted foot, and my head would roll with the terrible jalapeños into a deetch or drain and I would be no more.

The jalapeño peppers which surround me are deesgusting. I say that, although I once was familiar with spice in my food stuffs. I float atop their deesgusting awfulness like a cork on a sea of vile and abhorrent speetle! They must menace me from every direction with their horrorful snouts of green, glistening spicyness and badness!

I am not even beheaded properly, for there are deesgusting tendrils of my former neck dangling below my head like some leetle child has cut my head off with dull and blunt sceeesors! Faugh!

I do not any longer care for the jalapeños. If you are in habit of eating them, keep in mind that I am hiding inside the can. Any pepper you poool out of the can could be me! My head! My expression will carry my full condemnation and icy cold crooolty that will freeze your balls or wither your extremities! Be ware of me for I am vairy, vairy disturbed and the pickling has leached my brain of human goodnesses. You have been warned.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Am Currently Being Murdered With Nerf Guns, By Mine Own Formerly Dutiful and Good Children

I write this from a small closet on the third floor of my home. My boys have gone feral, and are seeking me. My food supplies are running out and it is cold, terribly cold.

It started innocently, when they were given Nerf N-Strike weapons for Christmas by their doting Grandmother. Yes, even the 2-year-old, dear sweet angel that he is...was. At first, they made a merry game of chasing one another around the house, and pinging their brothers on the buttocks with darts. Jolly laughter accompanied these games. Such delights were rarely seen about the fireside, as boys gurgled down hot chocolate and donned their winter garb for snowy adventures.

But all was to turn.

After a few days trapped indoors, with little to no formal schooling, their innate savagery asserted itself in sudden and ugly ways. The stuffed animal herd was cruelly culled, with many animals eviscerated and dangling from lampshades, their intestines strewn about my formerly tidy living room like spaghetti. Lego structures, once revered, were destroyed with the whoomp! of a mighty fist. Beloved books were found with the spines gnawed out, and little Thomas the Tank Engine trains showed up floating in the potty—their formerly bulbous eyes now in that traditional x x state of the deceased. When questioned, the boys gave rude and sullen stares and refused to confess. We threatened them with Time Outs, but they laughed merrily.

"What matter to put us in a chair?" shouted the elder. "What can it harm us, for it is not beatings on the buttocks, or other direful things. It is merely being seated in a chair!"

"Ho, ho!" carolled the other two, evilly.

My late husband turned to me then and said "We are done for, indeed."

The elder boy began to carry his N-Strike weapon everywhere with him. Like dutiful little ducklings, the younger two followed his lead. Such is the way when children are indoctrinated into the military. Soon they were all marching in single file, their expressionless features cracking only when they asked for "Juice in cup with lid on please!" or "Animal scrackers! Now please!" or other horrible things.

Mealtimes became frightening, dire affairs. Screams and guttural grunts were heard, and booglets of strange shape and proportion flew out of the boys' noses as they attempted to eat their meals while singing their cruel, militaristic songs about poop and suchlike. It was like eating with animals, my friends, and I feared for our very lives. Sometimes I saw the sheen of yellow plastic glinting under the chairs, as they cradled their Nerf N-Strike weapons. Dear Grandmother, what hast thou wrought?

It is all too late to ponder that. They come now, with their little rubber bullets of doom. I can hear their maniacal sniggers as they start up the stairs. It is over for me now. Bar your doors, for they are loosed upon the world, until Monday when they must once again commence school!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Scarecrows: The Only Way to Inspire Jealousy and Rank Fear in One's Neighbors

Above: An extremely menacing and possibly predatory scarecrow terrorizes a neighborhood. It is joined by evil brethren from the local garden center.

I would like to tell you the secret for making your home shine like a diamond in a sea of mediocrity. And that secret is this: Scarecrows. The more scarecrows a property has, the more it will breed stirrings of fitful and vengeful jealousy in the neighbors; pride of ownership in you, the owner; and rank fear in the local squirrel, neighbor, and bird populations.

I have only three scarecrows, as I have recently learned the secret over the past weekend, and have been unable to get to the supermarket to buy scarecrow-making equipment due to the heavy snows. My scarecrows are named after familiar friends and companions of mine, so they are called Johnny-Laid-a-Turd, Repticilus Vaginicus, and She Who Chews Soup. I have placed them in menacing attitudes in various spots about my property.

As soon as I placed my first scarecrow I sighted my neighbor peering out of her upstairs window through her binoculars. I could tell right away by her shocked expression that the scarecrow had terrified her greatly—and her greatest terror lay in the fact that she, poor wretched thing, had not a single scarecrow gracing her property. My first scarecrow was wearing very little at all but a loincloth I had fashioned out of a bathtowel, and I had nailed him on a cross-like structure near the foot of the driveway. Soon after, my neighbor went out in her car, casting me dark looks of aspersion. I believe she went to the local Shop-Rite to purchase some stuffing and scarecrow-pelt material, and perhaps she was caught in the ensuing blizzard? Serves her right, the plagiarizing poseur that she is!

While she was out, I took the opportunity to set up my second scarecrow on the roof overlooking the driveway. Despite the cold weather (Christmas was rapidly approaching), I dressed this scarecrow in a cast-off Lilly Pulitzer dress that no longer fits me due to ingestion of strudel.

It is very important to dress one’s scarecrows appropriately. Outdated costumes that make your scarecrows look like “hayseeds” or “rubes” will only cause your neighbors to laugh at you, not foam at the mouth with jealously. It is difficult to get your scarecrows to look properly menacing while wearing cocktail attire, but it can be done. I suggest buying a pen of the Sharpie brand and drawing very dark eyebrows with a vigorous, up-and-down squiggling motion that makes the scarecrow look like it’s saying “Grr! Grrr!” This has always made my scarecrows look angry and fit to kill, even while holding pink paisley handbags.

I know I have only three scarecrows but I intend to get more very soon.

It is important that your scarecrows are homemade. Storebought scarecrows are often cheap and shoddily made, and their faces melt off in the first heavy rain. Plus, their costumes are not name brand, and that is a dreadful embarrassment. There is nothing more humiliating than seeing a squirrel fearlessly nibbling at the privates of your scarecrow—knowing the damned thing was false by the cut of its collar or the crease in its pant legs—while you are eagerly waiting for that same scarecrow to menace the underthings off your hoity-toity neighbor across the street.

A scarecrow that is not properly menacing should be eliminated from your property, before you become a laughingstock. I always choose compostable materials when constructing a scarecrow, so that I can toss my scarecrow in the compost heap without fear of damaging our Mother Earth. This is why my most recent scarecrow is made entirely out of congealed soup.

No one else on my block has a scarecrow. It is quite pitiable. Not only will their vegetables be snacked upon by all manner of avian pest, but they have to live with the fact that I have beat them to it as a trend-setter. If they were to all invest in scarecrows now, they would most certainly appear to be copying me. It is too late for them. They are doomed to sink in a sea of mediocrity. My neighbor is probably furiously stitching away at her new scarecrow, glaring at me through the window as she does so, but I shall still boldly stride through her property, snacking her vegetables as much as I like. It shall not deter me, although she is using Very Menacing rosemary spriggets for its eyebrows. Rosemary that she could have used in a stew but chose to employ against me, her sweet neighbor. Such is the nature of jealousy, my friends.

You who do not live on my block, however, can still adopt this trend and look smart and chic! I will not begrudge you, especially if you live far across the country where you and your derivative brethren will not bother me. This is why I am sharing the secret of making your property the Very Best It Can Be. With scarecrows!

Here are the best ten tips for building your scarecrows with the proper menace, and with nature-friendly and affordable materials:

1. Encourage your children, if you have any, to participate in the construction of the scarecrow. A child’s poor artistry and inability to construct arms of equal lengths will give your scarecrow a horrible, deformed quality that would never be achieved in those factory-made knockoffs. If you do not possess children of your own, you may borrow one of mine. They have unmedicated spatial inconsistencies that will give your scarecrows that je ne sais quoi.

2. It is best to patent your scarecrow with the U.S. patent office, especially if you have found a way to make him sentient and/or capable of perpetual motion without fresh ingestions of petrol.

3. When arranging your scarecrow in the most menacing attitude on your property, it is often advisable to rest its hands gently upon its privates. This will cause neighbors to wonder if it has molestation on the brain. Were it to become sentient, this would be unpleasant. This will cause them to lie awake at night thinking agitated thoughts, and limit their abilities to do better than you in any way.

4. Straw, chaff, wheat, spelt, and so on are poor choices for scarecrow stuffing. I prefer Gluten-free ingredients that are not liable to be pecked by wild turkeys and doves, causing my scarecrow to look decrepit and decayed. Gluten-free pasta, crackers, and breads are readily available at most health food stores, including Mrs. Greens and Whole Foods.

5. Try to make your scarecrows diverse, reflecting the breadth of our colorful, human tapestry. A sea of white scarecrows dangling from wooden staves and crosses will just make your home look like a rarified country club. This is not what We want to achieve.

6. A scarecrow’s handbag should always be of an appropriate seasonal hue. If a scarecrow is wearing a light, white summer frock, do not choose a heavy black handbag, for example. This sort of thing will result in rude talk amongst the very neighbors one is trying to menace.

7. Scarecrows can be made much more menacing by the application of odors, such as Go Away Evil ™, or by installing soundtracks that play artists such as Peter Cetera. A scarecrow that appears to be singing “I am a man who will fight for your honor” will disturb and agitate many passersby.

8. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! I mentioned handbags earlier. The handbags are much more menacing if they are filled with real grenades, loose bullets, or the carcasses of the scared-stiff animals that you have managed to trap by freezing them in the aural glare of a Peter Cetera marathon. Scarecrows also look nice with necklaces made of human teeth.

9. Remember that the goal is to keep people off your property and cause them to tremble in fear whenever your name is mentioned. Then, and only then, will perfect domination be achieved! If any scarecrow fails to fulfill this purpose, it should be terminated without remorse. It is best to terminate during a neighborhood Block Party, at the exact moment that the ice cream truck arrives. In winter, substitute with the arrival of the local Caroling group.

10. Local teens tend to think that scarecrows are a subject for hilarity, not mind-numbing terror. Teach them a lesson by air-dropping a batch of homemade beauties atop their homes during “Movie Night” or a sleepover. Make certain the scarecrows you choose to drop are the ones most likely to become sentient at the most surprising moments, or else the hollow thumping may simply remind the callow teens of turds striking the roof.
It is best not to overdo the scarecrows. I know that I earlier recommended “the more scarecrows the better,” but I have recently revised my view due to an article I read in The New York Times. I am a little bit scared now, as the one I made out of soup has dissolved into my yard in the heavy snows and, therefore, into our water table.  

I would rather not share the entirety of the article's content here, due to copyright restrictions, but suffice it to say that my prescient warnings about sentient scarecrows came true for one poor homeowner in Marietta, Georgia, who had covered every square foot of her property with a matching scarecrow in a gingham outfit with black button eyes (Pfah! Hardly menacing!), in an effort to control the local goose population. Not only were Ms. Scribb's geese not deterred, but her scarecrows turned on her in a gruesome bloodbath that is soon to be made into a motion picture. Let this be a lesson to you! Keep your scarecrows to a minimum. I suggest 15 at most. Good luck to you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sockpaws (TM): A Family Game for 2-4 players

When it's rainy or cold out, the boys and I often play a game we invented called Sockpaws(TM). It has proven so entertaining that I have decided to patent and market it so that others can enjoy this delightful and timeless pastime. I have included the "short version" of the rules here.

A family game for 2-4 players
Ages 2 and up

Begin the game by designating one of the younger players to be "Sockpaws." He or she who is Sockpaws shall wear socks on his or her hands. Sockpaws shall wear a foolish hat, and shall speak in strange whispers and monosyllabic tongues. Sockpaws shall be given a Light Saver as a weapon.

Another player shall be "Evil Baby." Every several minutes, Evil Baby will transform into Good Baby, but then will transform just as quickly back into Evil Baby. Upon transformation, Evil Baby will chase all the other players throughout the house and try to bite them. The other players will stay constantly on the alert should Evil Baby hove into view, and will never relax while in the company of Good Baby for fear that he may turn into Evil Baby without warning.

A third player will be "Mrs. Smithers." He or she shall commence to building a robot that will transport all four of the players to the Moon. While on the moon, they will encounter malevolent lunar jellyfish and egg-laying cats. Mrs. Smithers smokes a corncob pipe and sometimes wears a festive red scarf. She or he has the ability to play "Jingle Bells" on the piano. Mrs. Smithers' preferred weapon is also a Light Saver.

A fourth player, if one is available, shall be "YooCoo." YooCoo is in possession of a telescope which allows viewing of distant weather events and time-portal disturbances. YooCoo is designated as the keeper and protector of Ziggy, a shape-shifting Karate master who appears in the form of a tangled red wig or a "bite sized" Milky Way candy bar, depending on the day and hour. Ziggy is all powerful, and tells all the others in the game what to do. As long as one follows Ziggy's instructions (which must be translated by a helpful transliteration machine built by Mrs. Smithers) the game of Sockpaws (TM) will be incredibly easy to follow.

Those who send me $299.95 via check, cash, or money order along with their address will be sent the gameboard, complete rules for play, costumes, playing pieces (including Ziggy), one die, and several peculiar children. Sockpaws(TM) is all you need for a festive family game night!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sauna and Steam Room Etiquette

This sign was posted outside the sauna/steam room at the Mamaroneck NYSC. I found the tone a little bit aggressive.

Sauna and Steam Room Etiquette

Please abide by the following rules so all members can enjoy these facilities.

• Refrain from leaving debris behind (e.g. towels, water bottles, rodent entrails, bones, newspapers, etc.). If debris is traced to you, you will be exterminated.
• Do not tamper with the monkey. The monkey is to be left alone. If we even suspect that the monkey has been tampered with, your membership privileges will be revoked.
• Do not pour water on the heating coils in the sauna. You will be immediately electrocuted. The resulting power surge will short out the entire village, and your nearest relatives will wander off a bridge into the icy waters of the Mamaroneck River.
• Shaving of one's perineum, waxing of nethers, and practicing veterinary medicine is NOT permitted in either room—it is unsanitary! The fact that you would even consider it causes us to think about revoking your membership privileges. You have been warned. Some of your friends have already been taken into custody.
• Using sauna as a centre for taking over of the earth is not permitted.
• Using sauna as personal boudoir is not permitted. Any underthings left hanging in the sauna will be burnt, as will your collection of stage wigs.
• Using sauna as a political arena is unacceptable. "Followers" of any kind, as well as pamphleteering/leafleteering within 50 feet of the sauna, is strictly forbidden.
• Using sauna to empty one's bladder is not permitted, not to mention unsanitary! You have gone too far already. You are now being arrested.

NYSC Management

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fatso, Silly Bits, and Sneakypants told me to write this

I would like to share the draft of Chapter #5 in my new etiquette and self-help book, tentatively titled "Stop Buttering My Crumpet For Me, You Asshole."

Chapter 5: Thou Shalt Giveth Amusing Nicknames to People

There is nothing that people love more than being given a cute nickname. It means that they are "in the club." So go out of your way to bestow nicknames on everyone you meet. It will give them a charming touch that they would not have achieved in their current state of hiding in their attic. Imagine if someone had nicknamed God "Fatso," Jesus "Silly Bits," and the Virgin Mary "Sneakypants." These guys would have been totally popular. They do like the nicknames that I gave them, and for my witticisms I have received a goat, a ram (neutered), and a pie.

Here are my super-nice and therefore famous-making nicknames for some folks I have encountered in my gym, workplace, church (I don't attend church so this a lie, but I will explain in Chapter 7, Why Lies Are Nice), grocery store, and temple (I am not Jewish but I will explain in Chapter 12, How Faking Various Religious Affiliations Can Get One Free Sweets). The names:

Sally Piddlepants
She Who Chews Soup
The Oompa-Loompa
Droopy Dawg
The Mushroom
That Miserable Wretch
The Tanned Lizard
Reptilicus Vaginicus
Me, Me, Me!
Snackus Adorous
Johnny Laid-a-Turd
The Eggy-Eyed Robotic Humanic Impersonation (EERHI!)
That Child Molester
Breath of Doom
Punkin Head

All these people were boring and bad before I gave them super-duper nicknames. Now they are better than bad! Their miserable fuckness-ess has been transmogrified into perfectitude. I want to write about each and every one of 'em. But I can't. I have had two martinis. Tomorrow, Johnny Laid-a-Turd and She Who Chews Soup, I will tell of the beautiful moments that gave you your beautiful names.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sorry I Upset You, Jujyfruit Assbat

Almost two years ago I wrote a random post on this blog about a rotten little school where I went for a brief six months as a child. In it, I named the names of the foul bullies who were mean to me there, and even posted a link to a frightful photograph of one of them. I like to call a spade a spade, you see.

Someone found that post and apparently got upset, and recently flooded my comment box with spammy stuff. While I think all bullies deserve to be driven, naked and weeping, into the sea, I sure understand if they got hurty feelings. Gee, I'm sorry, guys. I will try to be nicer. I might even say a little prayer for you: "Dear Lord, please don't make those mean bullies fall into a ditch like I asked you about 25 years ago. Instead, bring them peace, as they frolic in fields of sweet lavender and money trees!"

So here's the post about beloved Berkshire Country Day School, with all the offending "real names" removed. I like their new names much, much better. Here's to you, Jujyfruit Assbat!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Terror of Naked Feet

I like those people who can relax by sipping herbal tea or sniffing a sprigget of lavender. Those things don't relax me; they excite me into unstable, manic behaviors. Anything that is known to be relaxing has the opposite effect on me. It makes me think: "By God. I'm sitting here like a lump. Other people are doing things. I ought to be doing things, too. Not sniffing this spray of parsley! I am a fool and a wastrel. Relaxation will invite death, like a quick dagger in the night."

After such a realization, I usually run around and gnaw on the edge of the stairs, and do an occasional push-up.

Things were easier when I smoked cigarettes. I could just snarf one of those babies down whenever I felt like I was feeling too "alive" or maybe I was breathing a bit too much "oxygen." Times were good then, yes siree. If ever I felt this weird sensation called "energy," I could quell it right away by sucking on a little stick of paper and tobacco laced with pesticide. It was effective. That bothersome "energy" would go away and I could relax.

I honestly don't know what to do with half the energy I have, which is why cigarettes were so helpful. Without them, I find myself leaping about like a springbok and trying to stab people with a plastic scimitar. Sometimes, when sitting placidly in a meeting, I am really thinking about how I might choreograph Veruca Salt's "I want it now!" for 2010, while high-stepping down the conference room table and kicking the lattes left, right, left, right. Duck, you silly little Oompa-Loompas!

There must be other ways to relax. Some people take baths. I don't care for them. Your bits are never fully submerged. The water never stays hot for long.

Many people do yoga to relax. I find yoga frightfully stimulating, but in a scary way. First, the rooms in which people do yoga are filled with naked feet. There are many unpleasant details to be gleaned about these feet, if you look at all closely. Many people do not practice appropriate hygiene in this area, yet they gleefully strip their socks off.

Many of the feet have bunions.

Then there is the flatulence. Every time you bend to get into a certain posture, the old fellow behind you lets out a toot. Sometimes the whole room is tooting away merrily. The tooting is often accompanied by bad smells, as would be anticipated.

The people who practice yoga are also really "into it" and I admire their ability to be transported by the experience. They have glittering eyes and seem peaceful, like their organs have been feng-shui'ed into alignment. They never desire a cigarette! They have natural energy, and wouldn't tamper with it. The yoga devotees cart their own little rolled-up sticky mats with them everywhere they go. What's the matter with the communal sticky mats offered by the health club or yoga studio? Could it be that these sticky mats have been feet! Naked feet!

Sticky mat. It reminds me of sticky buns. I don't like sticky buns, either. There is a great deal that I don't like. I can't imagine a worse fate than being forced to eat sticky buns all day long, without respite. I would feel most decidedly ill.

How many times can one do a Sun Salutation? I have been in a yoga class where we did the thing maybe 50 times. I was going to snap and kickbox someone in the eye. I had my sights set on the instructor, who kept murmuring "Breathe in! Breathe out! Don't get in your own way. Don't think. All your thinking is garbage! Junk!"

There was one yoga class I did like. It was at Kripalu, a yoga center in the Berkshires. My dear friend treated me to a weekend at this place, despite my antipathy to the mess of naked feet that were sure to be in residence. There was a hot tub in the basement, which we called Boob Soup. They served dry groats for dinner. There was a curried, oiled scent to the air.

The class I liked was called Yoga Dance. A woman stood in the center of the room with a microphone, while live drummers beat out a frenetic and exciting rhythm. Everyone started dancing about like crazy. The woman with the microphone would shout out instructions: "Strike a pose. Any pose. Move with it! You're a wildcat. You're a tiger! Growl! Growl, tiger, growl. Prowl around the room and snarl with joy at those you meet! Snarl! Snarl!"

I have a vivid memory of some older gentleman hopping about in "tree pose" like a bouncing stork, while holding his hands up like whiskers near his face. He splayed his fingers out and wiggled them. "Growl!" he went. "Growl, growl!"

If only all yoga could be like this, I would not be so scared of the feet.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Dear readers, my apologies for having abandoned you for so long. I was writing a book! And I had an intestinal parasite!

Whilst swimming in a crystal clear and blue lake sometime this summer, I must have breast-stroked gleefully, with mouth agape, right through a patch of water recently vacated by an incontinent beaver.

Or, an alternate vision: perhaps dirty-fingered Leonard, the fruit and veggie stocker at the local Stop 'N' Shop, touching the produce with doody-flavored hands? Touching, touching, and dreaming of his recent mountain hike during which he gurgled down fresh and clear mountain stream water sans iodine?

One of these visions must be true. How do we know, dear reader? Oh, because after many many days of miserable gut-wrenching agony, nausea, heartburn, and what are commonly known as "the skwertz," I finally decided to seek the advice of a doctor.

At first I had diagnosed myself, because I am a certified WEB MD. Not only did I have gluten intolerance, fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance, and yeast intolerance, I also had multiple sclerosis. Now, I know that MS has nothing to go with GI troubles, but by God, that didn't stop me from finding a tenuous yet scientifically valid connection.

The pains and misery grew worse. Such were they that, upon receiving a catalog that features plaques and mugs with your grandkids' photos emblazoned on 'em, I almost ordered a miniature gravestone that one can place in the veggie beds. The thing was inscribed with a poem that read something like:

God saw that you were tired, a cure could not be found.
So He closed your weary eyelids, and we put you in the ground.

As I read those words I shivered with regret, for my children would trip over the little gravestone as they crossed through the garden, and would probably miss me as they did so.

Every time I passed a neighbor on the street I groaned and clutched at my midsection and went on about the ruination of my health. I don't know why I did this, except that any other topic of discussion was of little interest to me because I was about to throw up.

To my great misfortune and shame, the doctor asked me for a "stool sample." Three times. Delivering a stool sample is neither enjoyable nor fun. The nurse suggests that you use "something clean" to poo upon. One time, I decided to use aluminum foil. I suppose Saran Wrap would be been a poorer choice, but other than that I could hardly have chosen a more wretched and crinkly medium for my canvas. Things stick to tin foil. It's not like rolling something off a Silpat (TM).

Another time, I thought I would hit my own "feeling lucky" button and go right into the cup! It was daring. I dared, and I won.

Upon depositing the poo in whatever the chosen receptacle, one has to scoop out several bits with a mini shovel and scoop them into smaller vessels, which all had to be shimmied about a bit to mix the foul ingredients. The containers have "do not eat" yucky faces on them just in case you are tempted. Then, one has to keep "some" but not "all" of the poop in a refrigerated condition. So that basically means you are hiding bits of poop around the house and in the back of the fridge, in dark baggies and containers, after trying without success to remove it from the tin foil, or your shoes.

The frightful part is that on the sides of each container there are blank spaces for the scientists to write. They have to evaluate the consistency of each specimen, check for bad stuff in each, write a little poem about each chunk of poo-poo, and say anonymous stuff about it that they wouldn't dream of saying to the face of the person who produced it. I think one is judged and rated on the manner of delivery and if the container is Tiffany, Wedgewood, or otherwise. I got low marks for the black plastic and that hurt me, because we are poor.

This must the worst job in forever, but I'm sure there is a lot of laughter and ribald talk in the lab, and they pass the hours tossing specimens back and forth like those Seattle fish market guys did and made famous. "Go long!" they shout, and "Hey, not in my sandwich!" and fun, silly things like that.

When I dropped off one specimen, however, the people in the lab looked very bitter. It was hard to tell, because they all wore masks, but I don't think they were smiling terribly fiercely, or at all. I tried some rude "poo poo" talk and tested out some stage patter that my five-year-old is perfecting, but they stared at me with cold, lifeless eyes. I rather wished that I used a Lilly Pulitzer patterned coverlet for my sample, because their judgmental attitudes were giving me the pip.

The end of all this is that I was found to have GIARDIA, aka Beaver Fever. The people in the lab found it! Maybe that brought them some joy, to find something of conversational interest.

Then I had to take a bunch of antibiotics, including one called FLAGYL. Flagyl came with a horrific list of side effect warnings that included things like: "You will tear your eyeballs out and eat your own brains," and "You will vomit so prodigiously that your life will end prematurely." I was so scared to take Flagyl, especially because I could not have one wee drop of alcohol during the time I was on it. I wasn't even to use shaving lotion! I don't use shaving lotion, but I was scared I might rub up against some, or eat a bourbon-filled bon-bon that I found lying on the street. If you drink any booze while on Flagyl, you will get hot flashes, obscene cramps, and the vomiting willy-wags.

Flagyl worked. It finally did the trick, and the whole horrible thing ended. Sometimes I still have lactose intolerance, but that's it. I have one remaining fear. That is that the doctor will want "proof" that the parasite was vanquished. He will want another sample, and I will need to find a receptacle that hasn't been tried before so I can be innovative, new, and different! It is hard to always reinvent oneself. I may choose something bold, and very tiny, so that I get Olympic style points for verve and finesse. My sample shall be bold. My sample shall be trendy, and most delightfully free of Giardia.