Archive for December, 2014

An Open Letter To Christians; Somebody Please Explain This To Me

Friday, December 19th, 2014

So.  I’m packing to leave for the Oregon coast and will be gone until after the first.  I want to wish everyone a fantastic holiday season and especially Bob and Cindy over to Squatlo Rant.  Those two have taken on the raising of a young girl and need all the best wishes I can give.  I was feeling all full of myself for doing something nice for another person the other day, then I thought of the gift of love they have given their niece.  Put my small act of kindness onto perspectives.

Anyway, as a perk to the Medicare Part B coverage I purchased to supplement my Medicare, I got a free membership to a fitness club.  Needing to get my ass into better shape for the cancer treatments on the close horizon, I’ve been going to the gym five days weekly for the last month.  When I was sitting on one of machines whereupon you push down with both hands and make the backs of your arms quiver, I was watching CNN on a TV facing me.  What I saw was one of the Christian talking heads on a show telling about how normalizing relations with Cuba is an un-Christian like thing to do.  Silly shitball scolded the Pope for “…meddling…” in America’s business.  Me, I thought he should have said, “…not Christ-like,” but as I gave up my Baptist Christianity years ago, I might be a touch out-of-touch with modern Christian linguistics.

Maybe it wasn’t CNN, but I’ve seen this asshole before and he always seems to have found a way to bastardize the teachings of his blessed Savior into the twisted wreckage that has become today’s right wing Christian hate.  Hearing this exactly one week before the celebrated day of his Savior’s birth, I’ve decided to write an open letter to all Christians.  Here is an open forum for you to share your faithful beliefs with a bunch of us heathens.  I encourage any and all Christians to respond.  Please respond.

 

Dear Christians;

In one week you will celebrate the birth of your God and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Your dogma holds the purported teachings of this Christ man, as memorialized in the King James Version of your Holy Bible, as words of absolute truth—words that shall guide you in the living of your life.  You likewise claim that His words are to be taken literally—no translation required.

            Careful reading of all those memorialized words attributed to Jesus demonstrate him as a man/God of great compassion—the son of a God living a full life without ever hating, or berating kindness, or seeking egregious wealth.  Your Jesus washed the feet of indigents, kissed and held Lepers in his arms, cursed the money changers for their greed, and turned his cheek to another man’s attack.  Your Jesus never lifted His hand in a fist, and He placed all the poor masses of His time ahead of the moneyed few in every way.

            Your Jesus, if what you say is true, would have had the power to rule the world.  He’d have had the God-given authority to impose his will on every human and animal and plant on this planet.  Hell, He could have moved mountains if it pleased Him.  Yet, with all that power and authority, your Jesus chose to live a pauper’s life, a life lived spreading glad tidings of comfort and joy.  Your Jesus never once acted to use his strength or power or knowledge to make a personal gain.

            Now here we are, some two-thousand years after His death, you silly sumbitches have managed to mangle, mismanage and misinterpret His words so terribly that I think your precious Jesus would be ashamed of you.  Think Jesus would approve of the Koch brothers political activities?  Think Jesus would support men who place themselves above other men due to race or sexual orientations?  Ask yourself this before you spout off about the president’s recent administrative edicts:  Would Jesus condone any sort of torture?  Would Jesus turn away the hungry and abused Hispanic masses at His doorstep?  Would Jesus welcome doing business with China and shun Cuba?  Would Jesus ask you to unburden the rich by taxing the poor?

            If all a person did was watch Fox News to learn about what modern day “Christians” believe, they could compare the stated values as seen there to the words in the Bible.  This comparison would cause a reasonable non-Christian person to say, “What the fuck?”

            Me, I’m now asking you guys, “What the fuck?  What happened to Christ’s words over the last couple thousand years?”

            You don’t believe in evolution, so it can’t be that Christianity has evolved from love to hate.  For those of us on the outside, it appears that it might be a literal “false prophets” scenario, one of those “Beware of false prophets who come to you dressed in a lambs clothing, yet are ravenous wolves at heart.”

            If memory serves, that’s from your Saint Matthew’s book of the Bible, and I likely messed the specific words a little bit.  It has been fifty years since I was a Royal Ambassador to Christ over to the Eastridge Baptist Church.  What my RA leader told us was that there would be men who represented themselves to be speakers for/prophets of Jesus, each of whom would be charlatans.  These people would seek personal wealth and power by transforming Christ’s messages, bending His words to suit their needs.

            That leader called them “flim-flam men,” the first time I’d heard the term.  As examples, he mentioned the “faith healers” of those times.  But I’m rambling.

            Let me conclude by asking any Christian out there to produce the tangible evidence in the words of Jesus Christ to justify any of the following:

  1. Turning children away from our borders.
  2. Accepting China and rejecting Cuba. They are, after all, both “C” words just like Christ.
  3. Denying universal health care.
  4. Enforcing your will on a/another woman’s body.
  5. Racism.
  6. Bigotry.
  7. Torture.  Please, this one really gets me.

If you can produce words from Jesus that support some of this shit, maybe some of the rest of us can find a way to seek common ground—maybe you might convince us that mistreating other humans for personal gain is a good thing. I leave Sunday really early and will print any responses you make before I leave.  After Sunday, it will take me until the first to get back.  But I will print responses without edit, saving threats.  Jesus wouldn’t like you to make threats.

Please have a happy, Walmart-free holiday.

Do The Clothes Make The Dog? Camel Toe En Francais

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

So.  For starters this morning, please allow me to say that the elation felt by me yesterday as to having reset the font choice defaultings here to my Windows 8 computer was a touch premature.  Like this one time when, as a young and eager lover, I arrived early to the party, I have celebrated making Times New Roman in a size 12 my defaulted font choices, prematurely.  Fucking right click did nothing but allow me to take two extra steps to make changes from the regular way.

Having said that, once my error was discovered, instead of taking my rubber mallet to my computer, I chose to further infuriate myself over to the Admin place for my bloggie.  I set this silly web site upon its feet before Blogger was invented, or at least before it was far superior to Word Press.  As my computer literacies would match those of your typical variety of garden slug, I lack the wizardry required to do even the simple most activities.

Just as I was ready to take said and same mallet to my Word Press Admin, I decided to ease the pressures and took a look at who was visiting me over to the Visitor’s Bureau.  The “Visitor Snapshot” I reviewed showed that I had 32 visitors, seven of whom (of which, maybe) were Bots.  Two things were, to me, remarkable about this snapshot.  First was their locations when visiting.

One each from Kuala Lampur, Putian, Latvia, Hostice, in the Cz, Malverna, Kansas City, Seattle, Dallas, Boston and Los Angeles.  Putian is in the Chenxiang Province of China, Malverna is near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and I’ll assume we all know enough about the other single-visitor locations.

The dozen other visitors were each and every one from the same place.  All twelve reside in fucking France.

“What’s up with that shit?” I asked myself, and aloud at that.  “Whatinthefuck are a bunch of Frenchmen doing looking at my stuff?”  Aloud, again, and somewhat confused.

I know why Boston, as there reside in that area many Catholics, and Catholics are a breed of person finding my words highly offensive.  The particular Bostonian caught reading this morning was reviewing some of the things I’ve had to say about his/her/its church and Popes.  At the snapshot moment I saw, they were reading this thing I wrote about how the last Pope and Queen Elizabeth were maternal twins separated at birth.  Same faces, same dresses and hats and gestures.  Twins, I tell you.

I can tell you with some assurance that many of the exotic locals listed harbor thieves who steal what I write and paste it into their blogs in their languages.  Why anyone would steal from me is a mystery, but those shitheads do it, and with some alacrity.  The Latvian asshole is almost a constant visitor—one whom I want to charge rent he’s here so often.

“But why so many Frenchies?” again asked of me, by me, and aloud.  Well guess what?  What might you guess all of those French personages were reading?  Stories of human interest?  Political ideologies expressed from a quite liberal slant?  Self-improvement ideas?

No, no, and nope, the French had no time for any of that trivial shit this morning.  The French have far higher and mightier desires for their edifications than do the rest of us.  Nope, each and every French viewer had punched onto the “Camel Toe” Category button over to the right of the screen, and all were reading about my experiences therewith.  Several had already been reading for more than two hours.

At first I was confused as to what there might be about camel toes that would so entice the French to visit me in such a way.  Then I remembered the only French woman’s camel toe I’ve ever viewed, and it hit me.

“Evelyn,” I exclaimed.  “They’ve seen Evelyn La Roush-Johnson-La Marque’s camel toe!”

The Squirt came running into the office and skidded to a halt on the pine-planked floor.  “You alright, shithead?  Did your prostate kick you or something?

“No, little lady, but thanks for the concern.  It was my memory that got me.  You haven’t met the ex-wife who was an opera singer—a woman who could fill-out the crotch of a pair of leotards like no other.  I’m guessing she’s touring France and showing off her crotch meat.”

“She was the French wife, right?”

My tiny brown dog was almost right.  “Not 100% French, but she was from The Algiers, and spoke French as her native language.  Attended schools in France as well.  I’ll show you some photos.”

The puppy thought for a second.  “Do I have a camel toe?” she asked.  “I’ve been told I’ve got a big tooter for my size.”

She does.  “You do, you adorable little bundle of piss and vinegar, and I’m guessing your lady package would be quite a bundle as well.”

“I wanna see!” she said.

After fifteen minutes of trying to deny her request, we started looking for appropriate clothing with which to dress her in such a way as to display her camel toe.

“Hey, what about that stretchy shirt of yours—the one you just put in the rag bag?”

I have this thin, stretch pullover shirt I wear when it gets really cold and had torn an arm socket out of it when I put it on last week.  We sat at the dining table with scissors, needle and thread. We cut a pattern from newspaper, and after several adjustments and fake fittings with newsprint, we thought we had it right.  Then we cut the shirt to the pattern and had started to sew it together when the phone rang.

“Hey, Sammie baby, how’s it hanging, girl?”

Sammie is Dr. Am-Johnson, my first ex-wife and long-term psycho therapist.  “You missed your appointed time again, buster.  What do you have going on that’s so interesting as to cause you to miss a pre-scheduled phone therapy session?”

I told her.  Why, inthefuck, did I have to tell her?  I could have said, “Oh, the Squirt and I were just messing around and shit and I forgot.”  You know, tell the truth without full disclosure.

There was a pause on the phone line and then a long, slow, deep breath taken.  The breath exhaled just as slowly and then, “Jesus Christ, Mooner, have you lost your fucking mind?  Do you know how stupid you are?”

Before I had time to formulate a proper response, she added, “Of course you don’t.  I must have lost my mind to be surprised at one of your stunts.  Please tell me you haven’t taken any photos.  Please…, dear God…, let there be no photographic evidence.”

“Well, we haven’t finished sewing it, and I want to get it right before I snap any pics.  We’ll post the best over to the bloggie.  We’re gonna dress her up like a French poodle to attract more visitors from over there.”

Except for the hissing of breaths taken and released, there was more quiet from the phone.  Then, “OK, big man, do as you will.  But do not call me if this lands you in jail.”

I was about to tell her something in response, but she said, “Dumbass!” and hung up.

Maybe you guys will take my word for how adorable Squirt looks and we can skip the photos.

Fuck Walmart!

 

 

Growing Pains For Dummies; Understanding Windows 8

Friday, December 5th, 2014

So.  I’ve had my new Windows 8 computer since April and I just, quite accidently, learned how to change the font style and size in a default action.  Heretofore, I was required to adjust the font from Calibri, at an 11 sizing, to size 12 Times New Roman, each time I sat to write.  As I haven’t worn a size 11 since 8th grade, and font in my now size 13 setting isn’t well accepted over to my Word Press bloggie dealio, I settled on a 12.  As for the font style, the Romans seemed to have anticipated an ink layout that is easy to read.

I wonder when Times New Roman was invented.  Did Caesar Augustus or his contemporaries develop the font style?  Back then with the quill pens and pimply paper products of the pre-industrial age, it must have been difficult to provide clarity of written documents.  All those splatters and blobs from quill-penned words can be off-putting.  Like this one time Streaker Jones and I made a pen from a turkey feather and ink from cow’s blood thinned with turpentine.

With my ADD and ADHD, funky, fancy print styles agitate what little focus I have and cause my mind to wander.  Makes me wonder too.  Like, remember when you were a young teen and your body was growing at its fastest rates?  Me, I grew a foot between sixth and seventh grades.  This I knew because I was measured and weighed for the William B. Travis Junior High School football team the first day of school.

Coach Pepworth—a nasty little man who most resembled a 5’6” bowling ball covered in a sniper’s ghili suit made of course, black hair—held my opened student file in one hand and the ruler used to mark where, on the height thingie painted on the wall, the crown of a student’s head  reached.  In my case, run-on sentence aside, Coach P teetered on a chair as I fidgeted around while looking at the marvel that was a junior high school locker room.

I focused on his face for a moment and asked, “Does all that hair itch, sir?  I itch all the time and my Gram says it’s because I’m starting to grow pubebies.”

“Stand still, you disruptive little shit, or your pubic hair will be the least of your concerns.  I fall off this chair and you’ll see why that two-by-four is sitting over there by the door.”

Coach P bandied about at practice with a scarred two-by-four used to punish poor plays, back-talk, and what he called, “Your lack of enthusiasm, Mr. Johnson.”  I still have a bone spur on my hand from when I tried to deflect that fucking piece of lumber this one time.  He’d grab you by the face guard and pull your head down to his level to deliver the judge and jury edict before administrating the punishment.  However much taller than him were you determined the force he used to pull.

“Well lookie here, Mr. Johnson,” Coach P said to me.  “If this record is right, you grew eleven-and-a-half inches over the summer.  You’d best be careful in contact drills…I’d hate for you to break one of those tender, new bones.”

I don’t, didn’t remember my bones as soft back then.  I can remember lying in bed in the dark with my tiny crystal radio hissing, “In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…” while I could actually feel my bones expanding.  Sometimes I thought I could hear them as they expanded—crackling and groaning.  This one night my arms grew a full inch.  I have semi-scientific proof.

This was also the summer I discovered the wonderment that is my pecker.  Also the summer my fucking Boy Scout leader discovered the wonderment that is my pecker, but that’s another dealio in its altogether.  Each night in my efforts to get to sleep, I would lay precisely in place on my bed, position my elbows on the only spot atop the springs of my twin mattress that didn’t touch my funny bones, and I’d play with my pecker.  The motions became so machine-like that I could position myself in my sleep.  With the usual overnight growing, the positioning adjusted so slightly I didn’t notice change.  But this one night was different.

This one night, I lay my head in just the right spot, adjusted to place my elbows on the springs, and reached for the spot where my manhood waited.  It wasn’t there—it was AWOL!

I won’t say I screamed like a girl, but as my voice was still in that awkward stage between man and falsetto, my Gram says I screamed like a girl.  She burst through my bedroom door with her double-barreled, 12-gage shotgun at the point and flipped on the light.

“What tha fuck, Mooner?  I thought that fuckin’ cooner climbed in yer winda and grabbed ya by yer tiny balls”

There was a raccoon we thought might be rabid hanging around the ranch down to the creek.  That racoon was a constant subject of conversation until Gram blasted it not long after this night.  “It’s OK, Gram, I found it.  Not the raccoon, my pecker.  It was only an inch away, but I thought it had disappeared on me.”  I was scared but I wasn’t crying.

“Oh stop whimperatin’ like a baby.  You Johnson men ain’t never lost a pecker one.  Yer great uncle George got shot in ‘is ass back to the WW One, but havin’ them ten kids says his pecker worked fine.”

Anyway, I was standing with my back to the gym wall, trying to make my skeleton fit flat against, and Coach P teetered on the chair as I fidgeted and squirmed.  Standing on a chair he could look me in the eyes without any adjustments.

“Says in your record that you’re a problem child, Mr. Johnson,” he told me with the dead look of a snake.  “Don’t you be thinking that your mother can keep you out of trouble on the football field.  Assistant Principal Johnson is a saint, and you are problematic.”

When he stepped down I asked him what problematic meant.  Saying nothing, his response was to flip his eyes across the room to the worn timber sitting by the door.  I’m not all that smart now, and was smart less back then, but I two-plus-two’d the two-by-four and problematic.

2X4 + problematic =  Owie!!!

And whatinthefuck does “wee-ma-whacka” mean?  I never thought that song was about a bunch of guys masturbating.  Maybe it was a symbolism I’m unable to grasp.

Anyway, and now again, my actual shoe size is a 13, except for some sneakers require me to buy a 14, and all in a wide, or doublewide.  The accident that makes this newsworthy lay back in paragraph one, herein.  I was fumbling with my computer mouse and accidently right-clicked on the font dealio up top-left of the screen.  If I wished to change the font in Word 8 to default, the little box explained, all I needed to do was contort six fingers onto the keyboard in a digital tangle, and sis-boom-bah, I’m defaulted.

Are you feeling as confused as I am?  Confused as me, maybe it would be.  I refuse to say “myself” as that word pisses me off for some reason and I only use myself when forced to do so.  Maybe it’s because sports guys refer to themselves as “myself” so often and I just don’t like it.  Speaking of myself getting used:

So, FUCK Walmart!

 

 

 

 

Thoughts On Give-A-Shit Day; We’ll Stop To Pee When Your Dad Says So

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

So.  I’m going to take a minute to address today’s Holliday du jour, The Day of Giving.  In careful examination of this day, we all know what a “day” is, so let’s move on to the gift, or giving part.  A gift is simply that—something given without getting in return.  I herein freely admit that as a younger man I felt the need to get tit-for-tat when I “gave” to a charitable cause.  I always wanted to see my name, or Mooner’s Compost Plant, listed in the donor documents of whatever charity I chose worthy to receive my donations.

Dr. Sam I. Am-Johnson finally cured me of my ignorance one day when she asked me how I chose a charity for my company donations.  When I realized that my corporate gifting was saddled to the estimated exposure I got in return, I got it.  Now, I may ask you to donate to particular charity, but I’ll not ask you to do it in my name.  And I ask that charities not use my name as a giver.

OK, stop.  Is it Giving Tuesday or Day of Giving or Give a Shit Day?  I can’t remember the actual name.  But whateverinthefuck the actual name might be, my sentiments are unchanged, and unbridled, both.

I was switching radio stations earlier as I drove the mountains looking for a strong signal.  OK, let’s halt this nonsense once, and again, to say that I was driving the mountains for shits and giggles, and the looking was with the radio and for a signal with enough strength to produce audible noise from the speakers.  Having said all of that, I was also looking at the scenery, but not for scenery, and, alas and also with some alacrity, I was looking for a place to pull over to pee.

Those of you with age-swollen prostates infiltrated with cancer-filled tumors can understand a man’s need to pee.  For the rest of you, think of needing to pee when you get into your car for a day’s drive.  Drink three one-liter bottles of water.  Wait two hours.  That feeling, but repeated every thirty minutes after the last pee event.

I now call them “pee events”.  Nighttime pee events are the worst.  I’ll awaken from a great dream with that car trip urge thinking I might not make it to the pot before my bladder bursts.  Then I sit on the commode for fifteen minutes wiggling and waggling to maneuver into a position that will allow the pee to flow.  Or drip.

Anyway, I’m driving the mountains and one of the radio stations my radio’s SEEKER button stopped at was a conservative talk show.  Can’t tell you which of those assholes was the host, but he was yakking about all the “gifting” done by the wealthy individual and corporate Americans.  He bragged about the Koch Brothers and sited The David Koch Theater, mentioned ATT Stadium and The Staples Center along with various hospitals and university buildings, and stuff.

This airbag bragged about how those “gifts” clearly demonstrated the “good hearts” of the gifters.

Bullshit.  Bull fucking shit.  That would be advertising, you sanctimonious goat fucker.  “And now, from the David Koch Theater we bring you the Metropolitan Opera.”  That, folks, is advertising.

Give a bunch of singers and dancers (many of whom you feel are doomed to Hell due to their homosexuality) $50 million to produce operas and plays and shit without broadcasting your fucking name all over the god damned place and I’ll credit your spanky ass for a gift.  Otherwise, it’s business as usual, and this business is you seeking even more control over the Arts.

Give a real shit, assholes, and make some true gifts.  One idea would be to buy Walmart employees a bunch of protest signs that say:

FUCK WALMART!!!

AND HELP US

RETURN THE FAVOR

Childhood Memories; Hey, Mikey Doesn’t Fucking Like It!

Monday, December 1st, 2014

So.  As Thanksgiving has managed to pass through the American landscape with barely a thanks given to the actualities of its foundings, we are now under siege by the actualities of what has become Xmas.  My local paper—a lightweight tabloid of maybe seven ounces average arrival weight—hit our driveway Thursday at a hefty two pounds and four ounces.  Filled with the advertising fodder of every fucking retail and service outlet within an hour’s drive, the actual newsprint seemed like a dust jacket for the War and Peace of coupon cutters.

When I unwrapped the parts I was to read and tossed the balance into the cardboard box I use to recycle newsprint, the Squirt said to me, she says, “Hang on, asshole, don’t you need to find some coupons for your presents for me and the goat dog?”

As I am one to always look for ways to better father my charges, I explained to the small brown puppy that, “It’s better said Yoda and me, sweetie, you should have said, ‘…the goat dog and me.’”

I’ll not tell you that she growled at me because that is forbidden between us.  I will, however, say that she gave me her best “eat shit and die” look while saying, “Look’a here, butthead.  If you plan to leave us with that nut-ball dog sitter for ten days while you explore the Oregon coast, you’d better give us some really good Christmas presents.  Otherwise, I’ll tell Yoda to eat her furniture and it’ll take $25,000 to bail us out when you get home.”

“Look, Squirtie girl, please don’t use the word ‘Christmas’ when referring to December 25th.  A major component to my plan to unravel excessively right-wing Christians is using ‘Xmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ instead.”

“Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!” was her reply. “Christ-mas, Chrrr-ist-masss!”

I spent the day Friday examining Thursday’s and Friday’s ad supplements with the two dogs looking over my shoulder.  OK, in actualities, one would sit in my lap while the other parked ass on the chair pulled tight against mine and both with chins rested on the table’s edge.  I don’t allow dog feet on my dining table and I’m pleased to say it’s the one rule they obey routinely.

“Hey, there are some attractive ladies at that place, Mooner. Are they for sale?  Maybe we should go over there and do some shopping for you when we finish here.”

“That’s a Hooter’s ad, silly rabbit, those girls aren’t for sale,” I told Squirt.

“Could’a fooled me, Bwana.  Looks like all their assets are sitting on the meat rack and ready to serve.”

How do you argue with that logic?

Did I mention I was drinking Carta Blanca beer and enjoying a touch of Raspberry Kush medicinal pot as we couponed?  I had the TV on as we perused and was down to the last two retailer’s packages when the Squirt told me, she exclaimed, “Look, its A Christmas Story!”

As the last two sales papers were for Walmart and Hobby Lobby, I told her, “Let’s take these papers out back.  You guys can do your business on them for me and then we’ll watch Ralphie.  I’ll pop some popcorn and you guys can share a jigger of beer.”

They did, I did, and we lounged before the big screen to watch my favorite Xmas Movie.  I try to watch that film anytime I catch it, sometimes as many as four times each season.  This time when we got to a scene when Ralphie has to eat the bar of soap, a childhood memory of my own flooded into me like an emotional dam had burst.  Bursted?  Why don’t we say bursted?  If it “burst” when actually breaking, whyinthefuck don’t we say “bursted” when referencing the event in past tense?

“Holy shit, guys, I just remembered an event quite similar from my own past.”  This said as tears started leaking from the corners of my eyes.  It seems that learning of my cancer has brought new levels of emotional tidings to me this holiday season.

I blew my nose and wiped my eyes, and paused the movie with my new pauser dealio on the TV remote, and recounted the remembered memory to the puppies.  I was five and it was either a Sunday or a Wednesday, and I know it was one of those days because each of those days of my childhood included visits to The Reverend Browningwell’s Baptist church.  His wife, Laticia, would later become my teacher in several grades.  We never got along and she is the mold from which I cast most every right-wing conservative Christian bigoted asshole I have encountered since.

In those days, the 1950’s, after each Baptist church service the pastor and his wife would stand on the church steps and shake hands with each parishioner and they would shake each down for tithes or service or some sin recently committed.  Leticia was an enigma to me even at that age- things I heard her say and things said about her behind her back.  I likewise lacked any social filters as a young boy, a trait upon which I’ve not managed any significant improvements even yet.

On this particular Sunday or Wednesday, I remember watching Laticia interact with people as we made our way through the line as Gram, Mother and I waited our turns. I remember how my hand ached as Mother gripped it like a chicken neck in a vice.  I think the fingers of my left hand are still blood-swollen from Mother’s attempts to control my movements as a kid.  My ADHD in her firm control, I kept trying to pull away to watch the preacher’s wife by peering around the folks ahead of us.  I peeked and peered between legs and around poofy dresses and jacket tails anxiously as I had a very important question to ask the preacher’s wife.

When we finally got to the head of the line, I remember Pastor Browningwell said something to Mother—likely something pleasant, as my mother was, is, a perfect Baptist—and then he said something to me.  For my part, I didn’t hear a word of any of that because all the attention I had was focused upon his wife.  I’d recently heard something about her and my curiosity was killing me.

In my anxiety to speak to an adult, I blurted out, “Does it hurt, Mrs. Browningwell?”

“Huh?  Oh, it is you, young Mr. Johnson,” said with a not varnished contempt as she and I already had some history.  “Of what, or which, are you speaking, young Butcher?”

She called me Butcher because that would be my actual given name and this was before I had earned my nickname.  And why isn’t it “knickname”?

“Does it hurt that you can’t fart?”  I elaborated.

Getting no understandable verbal responses, I continued, “My Gram says you’ve got a corn cob pipe stuck so far up your ass you can’t fart.  My tummy hurts when I can’t fart.”

Back in those days, ranchers and farmers would wash their clothes in Twenty Mule Team Borax detergent, and sitting by every sink was a lunky bar of Lava hand soap.  Lunky is now a word, and a perfect descriptor for this bar of soap.  The grit and lather was/is perfect for removing the grease and oil and barnyard gunk of everyday work with animals and machines.  As a child, we had Lava bars at the old pump head next to the big barn, at the sink in the wash room where we entered the house after working to wash hands and remove soiled clothing, and by the kitchen sink.  Seems this particular, egregious offense mandated a sentence to be carried out standing beside the barn.

“You stand here and think about what you said, you disruptive little shit.  I’ve never been so humiliated in all my life!”  That was Mother as she jammed the grease-and-cow-shit-blackened bar of Lava in my mouth.  “And I’ll be watching you through the window, Butcher Einstein Johnson. Don’t you dare take it out until I say!”

As she walked away, she flipped over her shoulder, “Einstein my rosy-red ass.  Your grandmother missed that one entirely”

The reason my eyes teared with this memory is my crazy old grandmother.  She’s who named me and later that night, after dinner, she corralled me to go out to her potion pantry that was the smaller barn on our property.  All my previous trips to the cellar where she brewed her psychedelic mushroom potions were for times when I’d been injured or poisoned, real or imagined. This was the first visit when the invitation was a curiosity to me.

My Grandmother started laughing on our walk to the pantry as soon as we were out of sight of the kitchen window where Mother was washing dinner dishes.  “That might’a been tha funniest fuckin’ thing I ever did hear.  Yer mother’s got no sense to a good humor, sonny boy, and she never did.”

Once inside the storage cellar of her potion pantry, Gram searched the shelves looking for a particular bottle.  “Little fucker’s here, I jist know it.”  She grumbled and groaned as she reached and stooped and crawled the shelves to find what she sought.

“Here it is!” she exclaimed. All I could see of her was the bottom of her Keds poking out from the heavy plank shelf where she was deeply planted.

She held the medicinal-brown pint glass bottle to my face for a close look, then set it on her work counter.  “I made this un fer tha boys when they got back from tha big Dubbie Two.  That war broke them boys right on down, Butcher.  They needed a pick-er uppie when they got back ta home.”

She turned the label to her own face and read me the label.  “Fuck Hitler and Tito too-  Mooseie Boy’s Done Already Dead!”

I now know that she was referring to Benito Mussolini, the best effort the Italians could make at a modern wartime dictator.  I’ve always thought the Italians spent all their real warrior vitriol back in the Times of Rome.  Too much amore in modern Italians to conger-up a true mirror image of old Adolph.

I just stood in rapt anticipation of what my Gram might say next.

“Here, boy, let’s give ya a double doser.  Ain’t used this shit in ten years and I’mma thinkin’ it might a lost its pow’r.”

Gram squeezed a first dropper into my opened mouth, I swallowed and then accepted another.  She looked at me and said, “Fuck it,” and squeezed several full droppers into her own mouth.

“Let’s us go sit onna dock an have a cold one.”

We did, my first entire cold beer sipped while my grandmother told me stories about war, and Baptist preacher’s wives and my mother.  Maybe it’s time for a repeat performance.

Fuck Walmart this Xmas season!