Post # 128 – Going off the grid…and about the man who wakes up as a pink leotard?

OMG, IT’S FRIDAY, and it’s supposed to get up to 59 degrees today! I’m breaking out my shorts and flip flops! :)  Additionally, I may be AWOL for a bit while working on Tales from the Lunatic Lounge.

For those who are new to my cafeteria de crazy, Lunatic Lounge is the book I’ve been feverishly trying to finish since November (2013), which is a collection of stories that are too fracked up not to be true, many of which are posted on my sister blog of the same name, for example:

http://lunaticslounge.com/2013/11/04/post-16-mr-toads-wild-ride-of-the-taxi-persuasion/ – about a somnambulist cab driver in L.A.

However, my latest post in the Lounge is pure fiction, a rather hysterical spoof about a man who wakes up as a pink leotard, which you can peruse at:

http://lunaticslounge.com/2014/03/12/post-20-henrys-life-in-the-pink-chapter-1/

Alternatively, if you prefer a bit of drama, check out:

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/10/07/how-i-almost-murdered-ex-husband-2/

Which is on my main blog/website, and I think the title kinda speaks for itself, does it not?

And last but not least, anyone interested in proffering a guest post, my submission guidelines are posted here:

http://lunaticslounge.com/about/submission-guidelines-for-guest-bloggerscontributors/

All righty then, back to working on THE BOOK…:)

Have a great weekend, all!

TB/ks

POST #127 – Sometimes nothing is absolutely fabulous!

While I wouldn’t enjoy sleeping until 4:00 in the afternoon like one of my theatrical heroes Peter Gibbons (think Office Space), I did wallow in nothing for a whole day, which I mentioned to my brother, Ben, two days ago, after receiving his email:

From: XXXX Smith [mailto:xx@xxxxxxx.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 8:10 AM
To: xxxxTenaciousB
Subject: Happy Birthday!

“I hope you’re having a wonderful birthday!”

To-wit I replied:

So, far, so good! I let myself sleep in until almost 10:30! And I stuffed my face with French toast for breakfast, which I rarely eat because of the carb content. For lunch, I went for broke and was really bad—by gobbling up some Steak and Shake, the only fast food I actually like. For our evening repast, my husband is taking me to Texas Roadhouse whereupon I will feast upon some finely grilled cow… and last but not least, I allowed myself an hour of uninterrupted television viewing this morning. and to finish off this day of decadence, I exercised for 10-15 minutes instead of the usual 30 to 40 minutes. I know I’m such a bad ass, LOL…watch out, I may knock over a liquor store next… Woohoo!

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

~KS

While a lot of people might think my day was exceedingly boring because they might prefer to celebrate their birthday with a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast or spend the day antiquing or something, but I greatly enjoyed the lack of excitement. Why? Though I’m not as disciplined as I used to be, and now I do indulge in more ME time that doesn’t involve work, I feel guilty for every moment I spend not working whether I’m watching TV with my husband, or paying my bills, which obviously has to be done, or whatever is keeping me from finishing one of my writing projects.

I feel guilty if I decide to do some laundry or clean my bathroom instead of working on the two memoirs I’ve been writing for the last 2+ years – though I would much rather be writing than scrubbing a toilet, but you get the idea.

My husband, Charlie, is always telling me that he doesn’t care if our house is clean or not, but it takes every bit of strength I have to walk out of our bathroom without scouring the floor and the toilet every time I use the loo.

I sometimes feel guilty when I decide to exercise for an hour instead of the usual 30-40 even though it’s good for my health. So, yeah, allowing myself to watch TV for an hour without the guilt gurgling within my soul because…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s my birthday is really awesome! And I eat CAKE without remorse beating the shit out of me, and I utilized that get out of the work/jail free card to lie back on my couch to finish watching Justified and part of The Guardian (on Netflix) for an hour of guilt-free bingeing de Television! :) And while I would rather have spent my birthday in Vegas or South Beach, kicking back and watching Raylon Gibbons kick ass is a mighty fine substitute.

And that’s why sometimes – doing NOTHING productive is just fabulous!

TenaciousB and her band of truth-spouting hippies~

Tenacious Bitch © 2013

Post #126 – LOVE, Love Walking Dead, but I don’t like that sound…

Um, yeah, Rick, do you hear that? I couldn’t help but notice this really odd sound echoing in the background during last night’s episode of Walking Dead. It took me awhile, but I figured it out.  It’s the sound of Rick’s spine from Season 1 calling you, dear fellow! :) You know, the spine you had when you went back to the rooftop for Merle in Season 1? When you took the group to the CDC in Atlanta? The spine that seemed indestructible, even ruthless and even slightly tyrannical when you killed Shane? Yes, THAT SPINE…:).

It would like to be reconnected now because many of us Dead Fans are tired of the broken/indecisive/wimpy Rick who doesn’t even see what an almost fearless, capable knight his son has become.

Heretofore, Rick had been a brave, resourceful man. The cowering Rick who kept claiming he was “no longer in charge” at the end of the mid-season finale was a big disappointment to me. And his lack of valor last season, in general, and last night just goes completely against Rick’s character, if you ask me. His 13-year-old son shouldn’t have more chutzpah than his father, n’est-ce pas? I could be wrong, or, maybe, I just prefer my heroes not crumble during the worst of times.

Perhaps, I’ve seen way too many Batman movies. You know, the character who fell on his sword in The Dark Knight rather than  sullying the character of a good man gone terribly bad. Seeing the shell of bad-assed Rick getting a beat-down by the Governor without much of a fight gives The Walking Dead a soap opera-ish tone instead of the dark ambiance a post-apocalyptic series should have.

Yes, perhaps, I’m being harsh. However, my name is Tenacious BITCH, not Nurse Nightingale, and. I realize that Rick murdered his best friend. He lost his wife and way too many people that he cared about. And then, after all that, he had to deal with that worthless, ego-centric, conniving murderer known as THE GOVERNOR. Rick toured hell a couple of times, and he’s still kicking, well – more like limping, but anyway.  And it would be extremely difficult to process all that Rick and his group have gone through.

Thank God, I’ve never had to deal with any of that. However, I did lose both my mother and my father very suddenly to cancer, and I had to legally evict my drug addict brother from Nana’s house. And don’t even get me started on the misery of living with Nana for 2, almost 3 years when I felt like a slave in my own house.

But, anywho, I just hope and pray that if ever faced with a zombie apocalypse or any other type of disaster that cripples society as we know it, that I have the courage to utilize the Michonne method of therapy. She didn’t go quietly into the night or waffle when the gov took her captive. No, she vowed to kill him! And she coped with her anger, frustration and the pain of losing her child/her boyfriend/Andrea and so many others by killing 23 zombies in about 90 seconds. AWESOME! :)

So, I told my husband we must invest in a couple of katana swords because I want to be prepared for the zombies when they come knocking, and I think if I kill enough of them, I won’t start seeing anyone’s ghost–and if the gov had shown up at my front door with a tank, and he refused to consider trying to live together, I think I would’ve said…

“All right, you win. We’ll be out of the prison by night fall.” And, then, I would’ve casually walked away and covertly rounded everyone up, gave them a gun and told them to fire away at the soon-to-be zombified head of THE GOVENOR…instead of waiting for him to kill Herschel.

But, maybe, that’s just me…and maybe, that’s why people call me – the TENACIOUS BITCH…

So, Rick, feel free to grab your spine on the way out. Your fans would greatly appreciate it….:)

~Over and out from TB and her band of truth-spouting hippies

TENACIOUS BITCH

© 2014 – Tenacious Bitch

Post #125 – REALLY? Dinner in a box and no pajamas?

I admit, I’m kinda old-fashioned when it comes to certain things, like when I have people over for dinner, I cook from scratch – (or Charlie does). Bare minimum, we use mostly fresh ingredients with maybe a seasoning packet occasionally if I/we can’t get the mix of spices right for enchiladas or something.

It just seems incredibly indolent to me, to not actually cook the food yourself for your guests, but maybe, I’m just overly fastidious in that respect. However, I know people would have been disappointed if I had served chicken fingers, courtesy of Banquet foods and frozen french fries or something instead of my prize-winning chili at our last party, which takes me about 20 minutes to throw together. Then, it has to cook all day (at least 4 hours). I stir it occasionally, maybe adding a little garlic or a little chili powder, here and there, but that’s it. Not so difficult, n’est-ce pas?

When I recently went to a friend’s for dinner, she doled out re-heated deli ham that was so greasy it made me queasy alongside Bird’s Eye frozen mashed potatoes and a salad composed of iceberg lettuce and bacon bits. Sorry, but I was annoyed. And, yes, they were, in fact, frozen mashed potatoes because I saw the package in the trash, and they had the consistency and taste of rather bland sand.

And how hard is it to make them from the box? I prefer peeled, boiled and smashed potatoes, but the dehydrated potato flakes mixed with milk, etc., that are boiled so carefully :) are just fine. I grew up eating those. But it’s so much healthier to eat mashed potatoes from raw potatoes than whatever the hell was in that frozen crud posing as spuds.

Secondly, I never go anywhere in public without makeup – no, not even the grocery store. Why? Because I’m vain. And? Next question…:)

However, I don’t mean I spend an hour slathering on Revlon’s best camouflage to go to Krogering, just a little concealer, a little  foundation, a little eye liner, and that’s it. That’s just how I roll. Because of my allergies, I always have dark circles under my eyes, so if I don’t wear a little bit of paint, I’ll look like I haven’t slept in a week and/or Charlie’s been smacking me around, which has never – nor would ever happen.

A couple years ago, I worked as part-time, season help one Christmas working for an upscale clothing retailer.  while cleaning my office yesterday, I happened to come across this email I’d printed out while working there. I kept it because I thought it was hilarious. And I’m paraphrasing here for brevity’s sake:

While we have a somewhat relaxed dress code here at XXXX XXXXXXX, certain items of clothing are not allowed including:

sweatpants

track suits

tank tops

halter tops

tops that show one’s midriff

flip flops

hats of any kind

pajamas*

pants or jeans that droop well below the waistline

*Except during designated pajama days, which are twice a year and will be announced via email.

SERIOUSLY? No pjs and no sweats? Damn. What’s the world coming to when you can’t slink into work in your onesy?! :) Before this job, I would’ve been surprised to see something like this in print. Perhaps, it means I’m truly over-the-hill–though I’m only in my 40s, so it’s not like I’m Nana’s age, with that 100th b’day lurking round the bend…but then again, the last time I worked in an office…the photo below portrays my signature duds…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaybe, that makes me a fashion snob…so be it…:). Though this photo was taken in 2005, I don’t think corporate America has changed much since then, has it? The gentleman who conducted my first interview at XXXXXX was wearing Brooks Brothers pants, a button down and a tie, and he commented that I looked great and that I should wear similar clothing for my second interview. Funny, I was worried I wasn’t dressed up enough in a long silk skirt with a matching blouse and a long white sweater, but everyone else was dressed like this:

girl in jeans 4

In case you can’t tell by my drawing, she’s wearing jeans, a sweater and a long scarf. And when I say everyone, I mean every applicant had on jeans, a sweater and a long scarf except me and another lady who had on a sweater dress. I remember thinking it was odd that people would wear such casual clothes to interview – though I know most of the open positions were in the call center, but STILL, this wasn’t Walmart. When I say, upscale, I mean, you can’t buy a pair of socks for less than $25 in their online catalog. And their jeans start at $98.

While completing my new hire paperwork, I heard one of the recruiters saying, “Jeans and a sweatshirt are not acceptable for interviewing, but please feel free to reapply in six months in more suitable garments,” to several young girls, and he briefly outlined what was appropriate.

Bravo to Joe Recruiter because I’m sure, otherwise, they would’ve had no idea why they weren’t hired. So, thank you, to my parents for preaching about the appropriate attire for interviews, weddings, etc., when I was a kid. Hell, I wore a black velvet suit to interview at Burger King when I was 16. Overkill? Maybe, but the manager hired me on the spot without even checking my references, and what could it have hurt if he hadn’t?

Therefore, I will never cry uncle to the new trend of dressing down because I fear that day in the future when the memo doesn’t say – “It’s pajama day! Dig out your flannel pjs!” Nay, I fear it will say: “It’s underwear day! Break out your new boxers and your best thongs and bras!” At which point, I will go to ground and telecommute until I’m too old and mad cow-crazy to work anymore…:)

It might seem like these topics are an odd combination: declining workplace wardrobes and dishing up frozen shit to your friends/family. But both trends have been spawned by the same bent in America these days: the art of laziness, an art I hope I never perfect.

Over and out -

TenaciousBitch and her band of overachieving/truth-spouting hippies ~

© Tenacious Bitch 2014

Post 124 – Never say DISABLED…and the acquisition of the Silver Bullet! :)

Three years ago today, I wrecked my beloved Escalade, which is the subject of this post – http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/04/12/not-arriving-at-my-destination/.

For those who are new to my Crazytown, my younger brother, Danny is a drug addict who stole between $40K and $50K from our Grandmother (Nana Maude) during 2010 when he lived with Nana in Georgia. She was 92/93 at the time, and the day I almost totaled the Escalade, I was on my way to get a Restraining Order against Danny.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Danny was at Nana’s house the day of the crash. Nana was in a rehab hospital, and Danny was at her house using my computer to do some sort of paperwork to apply for Foodstamps. I found the fax cover sheet dated for that very day (Jan. 16, 2011) on his desk the next day.

If I hadn’t spent an hour waiting on a policeman to take the statements of everyone involved in the crash (where, luckily, no one was injured), I would’ve been at Nana’s and had to deal with Danny’s temper. He was furious at me because I’d kicked him out of Nana’s house, and I was trying to sell my Dad’s BMW (that Danny had been driving) to pay 3 or 4 months’ worth of Nana’s bills that Danny hadn’t paid while he was living with her because he’d liquidated and spent all of her equity on liquor, strippers and drugs. So, I have to wonder if there was some sort of divine intervention there, maybe, as far as my accident? :)

Unfortunately, Nana lost her house to foreclosure because of Danny’s thievery, and she lived with me, my husband, and my son, Max, for almost 3 years afterward, which was one of the dreariest and most stressful times in my life.

As to WHY I was none too thrilled to be Nana’s maid/cook/personal assistant/laundress/nurse, etc., check out this post:

http://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/

Thankfully, she is now in a nursing home, which is the subject of this post:

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/06/28/still-unhappy-but-there-is-a-dog-named-sue/

Unfortunately, after the accident in 2011, the Escalade was never the same. The last six months we had around $1,200 in repairs. At one point, the electrical systems went haywire. All the warning lights were blazing as if everything needed to be replaced: the battery/change the oil/replace the air bags/the brakes/the blinkers, etc., and we’d just bought a new battery.

That repair cost over $300. But a month or so after that, it quit on me, about half a mile from my part-time job at Ann Taylor Corporate. Everything died. The engine. The lights, the brakes, the power steering, etc., right in the middle of a busy intersection between a Kroger and a McDonald’s during rush hour prime time around 4:45 PM…

I managed to get it started, but it died again about 30 feet or so later. I coasted into a parking space in front of the office and had it towed home after work that night. The next day, Charlie walked in from work and said, “Well, you better start looking for a new car.”

I’d been researching various cars online for a year, and I’d tried to get him to trade in the Escalade and his truck last fall, but he wasn’t interested. We’d planned on trading in the Escalade in the spring, but turned out, it most likely needed a new transmission, which would’ve cost, $1500, at least, I would think.

And we didn’t get nearly as much for it as we should have because the State Trooper who completed the accident report in Georgia, stated the Escalade was “disabled”, which devalued my SUV to about 1/3 of what it was worth according to KBB.com. It wasn’t actually disabled. It was driveable, but my insurance agency told me to have it towed, which I was more than happy to do because I was a little shaken up after plowing into a Chevy Tahoe.  They were towing the car away just as the State Trooper arrived, so he probably assumed it was disabled.

LESSON LEARNED: if you’re ever in a car crash, don’t let the cops label your car as DISABLED, unless, it is totally incapacitated and/or not driveable because that pretty much puts your car in the junkyard category.

However, there is a SILVER lining/a.k.a. THE SILVER BULLET.

When most people go through a mid-life crisis, they buy a Porsche. And I actually found a used Porsche or two I could’ve managed to squeeze into our budget, but that would’ve meant no new clothes for 2/3 years, and Ramen noodles and PB&J would’ve been on a frequent dinner rotation, which didn’t interest me.

That said, I’m such a nerd, I bought a 2014 FORD FIESTA…

RICART PHOTO 3

in garage 3

PIC ONE IN GARAGE

Isn’t it pretty? I love it!!! It’s a five speed/manual transmission. It has a twin-cam engine, so it’s not like the scooter on a Ford frame like the old Fiesta, and it has heated seats. And despite the lower trade-in value of the Escalade, the new car payment is $30 less/month, and the difference in the gas mileage is staggering. I did a comparison on a commuter’s website, which summed it up like this:

Cost of gas for the Escalade – driving to work: 

  Daily Monthly Yearly
Drive Alone *

$15.17

$242.65

$2,911.74

Carpool with 1 other person

$7.58

$121.32

$1,455.87

Cost of driving the Fiesta:

  Daily Monthly Yearly
Drive Alone *

$5.77

$92.37

$1,108.42

Carpool with 1 other person

$2.89

$46.18

$554.21

So, the new vehicle costs about $150 less a month in petrol than the SUV…:), and the Fiesta is REALLY fun to drive.  Additionally, it’s the newest vehicle I’ve ever bought. It had 8 MILES on it when I drove it home a month ago.

That said, though I do miss the spacious interior of the Escalade somewhat, the Fiesta is a bit like the Tardis. It’s a lot bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside.

Ta for now…wishing you all shiny new chariots in the new year! :)

TENACIOUS BITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies…

Post #123 – Make No Mistake, I am also a HEALTH BITCH…and I’m not going to apologize for it!

In my 40+ years on this earth, I’ve been rejected or dumped by more men than I could ever shake my hooters at…:). Yeah, I know, shocking, right? :). Allstate once dropped me because of my ex-husband’s excessive speeding tickets. Seven years ago, I had to sever ties with my friend of 20+ years at her request, because she prefers to hang out with her mental illness in lieu of reality alley, if you know what I mean. However, until now, I’ve never been axed by my doctor, which was brought about by this conversation:

“So, you’re saying that I should switch to Humira injections though I’ve told you numerous times that I’m not doing that because of of the risk of cancer or worse. However, in your medical opinion, risking lymphoma or a heart attack or or liver failure or possibly making my psoriasis worse, not to mention about a dozen other equally egregious ailments from taking Humira is better than risking dry skin, spider veins, thinning or burning skin from using Dovobet?

“I don’t know what the side effects are for Dovobet-”

“According to what I’ve read, Dovobet has the same ingredients as Taclonex, and all topical steroid creams have the same side effects of thinning skin and what have you. And  Kara [one of the RNS] said you wouldn’t prescribe Dovobet because you’ve never heard of it. But it’s made by Leo Pharmaceuticals, the same company that makes Taclonex.”

[Talconex is the ointment I've used for 7-8 years that contains a topical steroid and Vitamin D].

“Yes, Kara told me,” Dr. Reynolds sputtered in a staccato tone. “But it’s not-”

“Did you even research it?”

“It’s made outside the U.S., so I-”

“Yes, I know that, but it seems to me that someone at Leo Pharmaceuticals could provide information about it.  That’s where I got the information about Dovobet, from Leo Pharma’s European website. And I realize it’s frowned upon by the FDA to purchase prescriptions like Dovobet from Canada. But I spoke to an attorney here in the U.S., and it’s not illegal. And a pharmacist at a Canadian drug store that I contacted said the bulk of their business is from the U.S. that they get thousands of prescriptions from the U.S. every year. He assured me Dovobet has the same ingredients as Taclonex. And I’ll sign whatever waiver or authorization you want stating I won’t sue you if I have an adverse reaction to Dovobet.”

“Yes, I know. But that’s not the problem.”

“Okay, then explain to me how injections that might give me cancer or kill me-”

“That’s a very remote possibility-” Dr. Reynold’s interjected.

“But it is possible because Humira and prescriptions like Humira suppress your immune system, but how is it better than the ointment I’m already using that doesn’t have any life-threatening side effects? Plus, I don’t understand why you’re suggesting I switch from Taclonex, which costs me $598 per month, which I can’t afford, which is WHY I’d like to get Dovobet from Canada because it’s only $284 for more than a 2 month supply, which is much more financially doable. But you’re recommending Humira, which  according to my insurance policy would cost me $1600/month plus the $40 co-pay for the office visit, making Humira THREE times more expensive than Taclonex? I realize you don’t know the particulars of my insurance policy, but you had already said that Humira was around $5,000/month, and since I can’t afford Taclonex, how exactly does a more expensive treatment solve my problem?”

Additionally,  I don’t want to subject myself to the agonizing pain of a needle puncturing every single inch of skin claimed by psoriasis, and right now, I’ve got about 40 spots, instead of an ointment that’s around $1500 cheaper, which isn’t painful nor life threatening. So, explain to me why Humira is better than Canadian Taclonex because I’m lost.”

Her face reddened. And her flat-eyed glare spoke volumes before she said, “Perhaps, it’s best if you find another doctor at this point in time. Sometimes the doctor-patient relationship doesn’t, um…” her voice undulating in anger, “It may not offer the best therapeutic solution, perhaps, a second opinion is in order.”

And she slammed out of the room.

All righty then. The younger, rather shy nurse, Amy-Jo, slithered out of the room avoiding eye contact. I sat there cold and alone and half dressed, and I just started laughing. Not how most people would’ve reacted, but I guess when you point out the less than brilliant ideas of your doctor, you get 86′d from your own medical care. And I found that rather amusing.

And the thing is, before this incident, I really liked Dr. Reynolds. But, sadly, I think that she’s been so brain-washed by the traditional ways of practicing medicine that she can’t see the box, much less consider stepping outside of it, ya know?

Aside from that, it’s almost like she wanted to do Humira injections because it could eradicate my psoriasis for a couple of months. Whereupon, she can put me in the WIN column – temporarily, maybe? I don’t know.

But I’ve been dealing with this disease for 30 years, and it doesn’t really bother me that there’s no cure. I’ve gotten really good at applying leg makeup, and I see no reason to gamble with Humira and pray I don’t get lymphoma or something to make my skin prettier and less itchy.

There’s a remedy that makes it better, and that’s all I need, but I’m not going to augment my credit card debt to buy the accepted practices just because my doc doesn’t have the balls to fly below the established medical radar. Ya know? Maybe, that’s too harsh. I know that her heart’s in the right place, but I guess she doesn’t realize that TenaciousB is allergic to taking NO for an answer. Guess I should’ve mentioned that to her before now.

Case closed? Of course, not…cuz, you know, IT’S ME.

So, for those who are confused about this whole doctor/patient/Leo Pharma thing, check out my previous post at:

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/10/29/post-119-death-to-anthem-insurance/. for the 411/background on this prickly predicament. And in case you’re wondering what psoriasis is – it’s an autoimmune disease that causes an overproduction skin cells, and it looks like this:

MY PSORIASIS IN MAY 2012 TWO

And this is a MILD break out…

Nothing to see here, just a 45-year-old woman with gray roots, more middle in my middle than I’d like to be carrying around and legs that could fake their way through a cover shoot for Chicken Pox Monthly.

OVER AND OUT FROM THE DOCTOR-LESS BITCH AND HER BAND OF TRUTH-SPOUTING HIPPIES who would rather not scratch their arms and legs in their sleep and wake up with bloody sheets…

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY ALL,

Love and Oatmeal Cookies~

TenaciousBITCH

© Tenacious Bitch 2013

Post #122 – Words of Wisdom from the WEE ones…

My cousin recently posted a conversation on Facebook that she’d had with her 4-year-old after telling her son that she had to punish him so that he would learn how to be a good human being.

His reply was, “You need to try something else because this isn’t working.”  TOO FUNNY, right? These days my conversations with Max, my 21-year-old, are all too often merely my asking questions, and his grunts, shrugs, and/or one-word replies.

So, I long for the days of dazzling and thought-provoking conversations between me and my children like one particular day when Max was eight. His homework was to write a one-page essay on someone from a different culture or a different religion. Max was hell bent on making his best friend, Alex, the subject of his paper. But Alex, who lived across the street, was also in third grade, was born in America, and his family is Protestant.

“You can’t do a paper on Alex because he was born in America,” I replied.

“So was Oscar.”

“Yes, but Oscar [another 8-year-old friend] is Mexican, and his family moved here when his mom was pregnant with him. They’re Catholic, which is not like our Presbyterian church, and the Mexican culture is very different as well.”

“But Oscar doesn’t have a moped, and Alex does. And he’s the only kid on the street who has a moped.”

I smiled. I could see his point if the inventory of one’s toys was considered one of the factors for his homework, but such was not the case.

“That doesn’t matter. His moped was a birthday gift. Where you were born, the language you speak, the way you dress, your religion, that’s what matters when defining someone’s culture.”

Max frowned. “Oscar doesn’t wear jeans, and Alex does.”

I shook my head, trying not to laugh because I knew that Max didn’t give a rat’s ass what the cultural differences were. He wanted to write about Alex’s moped, and he wanted to turn in photos of the moped also (because you got extra credit for photos). You see, Max was in love with that moped. He’d been begging for one since the moment he caught a glimpse of Alex tooling around on it in front of his house. But at the same time, he obviously didn’t understand the difference between one culture and another.

“Yes, he does. Don’t be silly. All your friends wear jeans.”

“Nuh, uh, he does not,” he sputtered, his lower lip puffing out in disappointment.

I smiled. “Try again, Sport. How about doing your paper on your friend, Kareem?”

Another frown. “Why?” He retorted angrily. “Does he speak Martian or something?”

I laughed, and Max smiled, knowing he was just being goofy.

“No, people from South Africa speak English and Farsi, I think. But Kareem doesn’t speak another language, right?”

“No,” Max said grumpily.

“And he’s Muslim, so that’s very different, and–”

“So, what? Who cares if Oscar is Mexican, and they go to another church, and Karim was born in another country and isn’t a Christian. We’re all Americans, right, Mom?”

“Yes.”

“Well, my teacher said because of your culture, your family is different – like some people in Africa sometimes all live together with their moms and dads and grandmothers and cousins and uncles, all in one house. Most people in America don’t do that.”

“Right.”

“So, Alex is the only one who lives with his dad and his Dad’s girlfriend,  instead of his mom and Dad. And he’s the only one who doesn’t have any brothers or sisters, and I’ve got four brothers. And Oscar has two brothers and a sister, and Kareem has a sister and a baby brother, right?”

“Right.”

“And if we’re all Americans, we’re all the same, doesn’t matter where you go to church or what language you speak you’re still an American, but Alex’s family is different, and he’s the only one of my friends with blue eyes, and my teacher said that sometimes the way you look makes a difference. So, I don’t see why I can’t do my paper on Alex.”

Man, it was hard to argue with that logic…if only most Americans felt that way, it’d be a better place, would it not?” :)

Max ended up writing his paper on Oscar-albeit begrudgingly. As I recall, he got a B- on it, and then, he ripped it up and threw it in the trashcan. I didn’t say anything. I just let that go, but, apparently, Max could not let this issue fade into the night. Finally, when I thought Max had forgotten all about it, his teacher, Mrs. Childers, called about the other paper Max wrote.

“What other paper?” I asked.

“Another essay about someone named Alex. He handed it to me saying all that culture stuff is a bunch of ca ca, and this the one he should’ve done and that it was an A+ paper!” Mrs. Childers explained cheerily. “Afterward, he stomped over to his desk, crossed his arms, and fumed until recess. He didn’t do any work, but he didn’t bother anyone, so I just let him be. Eventually, he started drawing pictures of  Alex’s Moped. After lunch, he was fine on the playground and very attentive all afternoon.”

“I’m sorry to hear that he blew up like that,” I replied, trying not to laugh. “Is he in trouble? Did he say or do anything else?”

“No, I just wanted you to know how much this unit on culture upset him, but I think he vented his frustration in a very positive manner.”

“Well, thank you,” I said with relief because too often Max expelled his aggravation by screaming at people, breaking things, kicking his desk, or unfortunately, slugging a classmate, on occasion. “That was very nice of you to call and let me know.”

And…as they say…was that…

Over and out from CRAZYTOWN – where the CRAZY store never closes…:)

Tenacious BITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies

Kennedy/tb