Witch Trials and Error

So, lately I’ve been watching a show called Salem. It’s been entertaining thus far, but last night the entertainment gleaned came from an unintended vector. Bear with me a minute. The Salem witches were trying to find out who killed one of their own, so they performed a “spell” in which they first removed a finger from the dead dude, placed a pound of coarse salt in a pan, buried the finger in it, simmered over high heat (uncovered), and added a bottle of blood. They then took the pan out of the fire, killed a frog over it, and sprinkled in some McCormick ® Italian seasoning (to taste). Lastly, they removed the fricasseed phalange, placed it on a foot-long spike and began reciting rhymes at it. When the rhyme didn’t work the first time, they just kept repeating it until the finger began to spin wildly before coming to a halt. Obviously, it was pointing in one direction. How could it not? At first, I thought the display was like a macabre version of spin the bottle since I know who the killer is and that he is the lost love of the Salem witch hive’s leader. They then followed the direction the finger indicated as the went looking for the witch hunter.

Now I’m no witch, but I am familiar with the scientific method and even cooking experiments that probably came out worse than their salted finger frog frittata attempt. I was left wondering how in the world they concluded that the steps above would produce a finger that could…finger their target. That was seriously unintended, by the way.

So, let us examine the process of trial and error that might have played out.

“I’m looking for a witch hunter,” says witch “A”.

“Say no more, fam,” says witch “B”. “We’ll just ask Dead Witch here.”

“Has that ever worked before, B?”

“No,” B begins. “But we haven’t tried it with the finger removed now, have we?”

“Brilliant!”

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“So, yeah. That didn’t work either, B.”

“What if we add salt and cook it, A?”

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“Looks like we’ll need to kill a frog on it, B.”

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“It’s biting, A!! Put it back in the pot! putitbackputitbackputitiback!”

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“Rinse it off. We gotta start over, bruh.”

“Let’s try some seasonings, A.”

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“I said Italian seasoning, B.” A shakes her head. “This is clearly cilantro, you daft bint.”

“Still no answer, A. Let’s put it on a nail.”

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You see where I am going with this? If they followed a pattern of failed experiments to find the solution that makes a severed finger point at the guy who killed the finger’s erstwhile body, they undoubtedly went through a great many steps, additions, deletions, and failures before getting it right. But why on Earth would anyone think to salt, season, cook, impale, and chant could produce these results? If this is indicative of the way magic might be used to defend oneself, it’s a wonder anyone would even bother. By way of example:

“Oh no!” Exclaims the evil wizard. “That good knight is charging at me on horseback! I must weave a spell of protection or invisibility! Let’s see here. I have some bay leaves, bits of dried mouse poo. Kill this snake on the concoction. Chant some clever sounding rhymey things about knights and frights and fights. And voila!”

Then the knight is all “Dude. I cut off your head fifteen minutes ago. Please shut up.”

“No. I can make this work. I just need to use oregano. Nobody ever sees people from Oregon.”

There is no rhyme or reason to it. Kind of like this post, really.

Bizarre Coping Mechanisms, Mary Shelley, Army Dentists, and School Avoidance

As per standard operating procedure, I tend to randomly exercise word association which takes me down twisting trains of thought with infinite branches where I get lost and forget what it is I am supposed to be doing. I think it is a coping mechanism or something that my channel surfing brain uses to spare me from the torment of pressing deadlines. It’s a flawed mechanism if you ask me and I have no idea how it originated.

So, here’s an innocuous example of what I’m talking about. This school project has me discussing the Gothic elements in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Having never actually read the novel, but being familiar with the tale, I felt pretty confident I could knock this out. Then I got to the part where I’m supposed to talk about Gothic themes in the story. Interestingly enough, this isn’t a requirement, but I already typed that I would point it out and I figured it couldn’t be that hard to discuss the topic.

An hour later, I found myself staring at a screen and repeating the word “theme” like some kind of lame mantra. You’d be amazed at how many different ways you can say a single word. This chanting took me back, like transcendental meditation/astral projection/displacement, to a dental visit for which I was awarded a gold crown as a replacement for a cracked and far less blingy natural tooth. New dental Lieutenants were brought in to learn by watching the Major who was performing the task of grinding away the old tooth to create a tiny spike of tooth for the crown to sit on like a decapitated head on a villain’s castle walls— only much smaller. And without bodiless heads. So, basically nothing like castle wall head spikes, but it is really boring laying there for that long and my mind wanders.

Apparently, I bleed a lot when people take gardening sheers to my gums and masonry grinders to my teeth. Who knew? Ostensibly, some people are disturbed by the word “blood”, so instead of saying blood, they threw around the shortened version of “hemoglobin”. They tossed the word “heam” about as if they’d just learned it and were seeking every opportunity to use it in a sentence. I did my best to ignore them, but it got truly annoying after a while.

Major: “That’s a lot of heam. I’m going to go grab some (insert made up Latin sounding drug name here). You stay here and make sure he doesn’t drown in heam and slobber.”

I briefly wondered if he was ordering them to slobber, but who am I to judge sentence structure?

LT #1: “Yes, Sir. That certainly is a lot of heam.”

LT #2: “Wow, I’ve never seen so much heam. Have you ever seen so much heam?”

The situation degraded from there and I soon had to grab LT #2 by the wrist because the heam/saliva sucky tube was now firmly affixed to the dangly thing in the back of my throat following an impromptu tonsillectomy by vacuum.

She must have misunderstood my intent and decided to clue me in because I’m apparently retarded and can’t understand the lingo of her profession. “When we say heam, we mean blood.” She touched my shoulder with her fingertips as she said it which made me feel slightly flirted with and simultaneously condescended to. Then she returned to absent-minded soft tissue removal as she turned back to the heam usage contest.

LT #1: “No, I’ve never seen heam like this either. It’s like a heamopocalypse in there.”

LT #2: Giggle giggle touch on LT#1’s elbow. “It’s a heam tsunami.”

The Major returned. “How’s it heaming, Chief?”

LT#2: Giggle giggle touch on the Major’s elbow. “Heams going to be just fine, Sir.” She purred.

I feel so cheap.

I gestured at the two-pound block of rubber jammed between my molars.

*Note to self: Majors don’t like being bitten. Retaliation is swift and painful.

He removed the bite block and I told him how the flirty-with-apparently-everybody LT was just explaining to me what heam was.

She leaned in and put her fingertips on my shoulder again to which I responded with crossed arms and a quick jerk away from her false affections. She then told me: “Heam is short for hemoglobin— which is blood.”

“Ma’am.” I began. “It is not. Hemoglobin is a component of blood. It is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. The normal adult hemoglobin molecule contains two alpha-globulin…”

I heard her teeth click back together under her mask.

“Also, the unorthodox usage of that sucky tube has my lower esophageal sphincter in need of some of that hemostatic compound you have there, Major.”

Aaaaand now I’ve written two and a half pages that has nothing to do with Gothic themes in a work of fiction. Awesome.

And this is how North Korea convinced me to not become a nudist- sort of

Well, it is that time of year again. Time for the US and South Korea to do one of a few joint exercises. The little guy up north doesn’t like it much, so he lobbed some missiles. Really, he reminds of the French dudes in the castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“I fart in your general direction.”images

They (the missiles— not the French) fell harmlessly into a sea of disputed naming rights. Depends on who you ask, really. South Korea calls it the East Sea while Japan calls it the Sea of Japan and North Korea calls it the East Sea of Korea— because reasons. Either way, Japan isn’t happy about it and neither are we, but for different reasons.

The powers that be decided it was time for us to be at a heightened state of alert. This means no drinking and no civilian clothes. Being a general non-conformist, I rebelled and sat around my room with no clothing at all. BOOM! Because words have meaning and meaning is important. Which brings me to my next point. Sort of. So, my uniforms were all in the wash. As per standard operating procedure, I get hungry while lounging about in the buff. I had a few choices before me:

1) Starve to death and have my emaciated nude corps be found at a later date, which would be hilarious if I were around to see the discovery. Dangerous game that. Best not try it.

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2) Don civilian attire to go to the commissary and risk the wrath of countless dozens. Also normally fun, but not so much on an empty stomach.

3) Or subsist on the only food(?) left in my room: an eight-month-old package of frozen pizza rolls. BINGO! We have a winner.

Just a tiny problem though. Have you ever read the microwave instructions for pizza rolls? I may be non-conformist, but I am a bit of a stickler for adherence to the instructions found on packages of food-like substances. It’s why they’ve been there for eight months. It says to place six frozen pizza rolls on a plate in a wide circle and nuke for 60 seconds. Who eats just six pizza rolls? My three-year-old grandson requires more than six. Where are the instructions for a half package? I had to give in though and just wing it. I covered a plate in the little nuggets of questionable nutrition and made some quick calculations. If six require a minute and still come out half frozen, then surely a dozen and a half require a couple of additional minutes. As it turns out, the ones in the center did not need more time, while the ones on the fringe needed more. So, I gave them more.

Has anyone cracked the code on which end of a pizza roll is the one designed to give way first? At internal temperatures roughly equal to that of molten lava, it is hardly advisable to pop the whole thing in your mouth. MMJgO_s-200x150

So, I nibble and learn a new game I like to call “nude pizza roll roulette”. I like to live dangerously. While learning the game, I discovered that there are six different directions molten cheeses can travel once a pizza roll is chomped on. Not a single direction produces a pleasant result— especially when one lacks the protection of habiliments. Not wanting to explain this at the clinic and getting zero relevant Google search results, I have to invent a way to properly bandage giggle berries…

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From Feast to Famine

I recently saw a couple of alleged “facts” that I found interesting. The first claim was that women are better able to accurately perceive personality traits of men they find attractive. This alone raises a great many points of interest. Would the opposite be true if we were 2016-07-23-14-24-37-0238speaking of a dude that was found to be unattractive? You know the ugly dude with a heart of gold, but women can’t see his good traits because he has a face like the mangy butt of a bull moose?
There there, good guy. You are entering the friend zone even as she pines away over the abusive serial adulterer with smoldering good looks. Shouldn’t these good looks have made him more susceptible to her vaunted powers of discernment? Or is it that she truly knows that the ugly dude is the good guy and 16807287_387838711592617_6832277088332156708_nthe hunky guy is an arse, but she really doesn’t care?

 

I would claim, at this point, that this first “fact” is debunked by the example above. However, there is another wrinkle presented in the second supposed “fact”. This one claims that women are more attracted to men who other women find attractive. I can get behind this one based solely on my high-school love life. It went something like this: There was me, the new guy on campus. All would remain quiet for a time until the new herd decided I was not, in fact, a threat to continued survival. Phase two begins when a brave young lady would express interest. Inevitably, there would be a slow but steady buildup of interested parties until such point a teen aged boy could hardly choose but must lest the now agitated males decide to form an aggressive pack. If you’ve ever stood alone against an entire football team, you’ll recognize how uncomfortable it is knowing that you can’t dip out but you should because you’d rather not be forced to drag your own carcass away from the scene of your own murder. In either case, this begins the domino effect that takes you from feast to famine which is kind of ok at the time because all the teeth in your stomach are a great appetite suppressant. One girl loses interest and *poof! They are all gone and I am a social pariah.

I propose that a different perspective can be gleaned from whatever survey determined the two aforementioned “facts”. Perhaps women are less adept a discerning good personality traits in a man as other women come to find him less attractive. Or maybe this is all hogwash and, like men, women see what they want in the one they are attracted to. Maybe they are just more attracted to the one everybody else wants. Holy crap I just realized that the ladies are as competitive as men. My teen years make so much sense right now…

I stumbled across my travel notes from last June

Woke up without a clue as to where I was and launched into full blown, bleary eyed panic to find myself looking out at the pre-sunrise skyline of Seoul. My second thought was “Why did I just dream that my wife and I proposed a three-way marriage to Gail?” Just how I came to this point follows:

There were two exceedingly irritating children who played cartoon like video games at full volume the entire time we were in the terminal. I have a plan. As I write this I am fabricating an entire language that shall serve as my response to these game sounds should I be stuck near them on the plane. It will work something like Tourette’s outbursts that are induced by certain electronic game sounds. Allow me to expound. “ding ding ding” elicites a hearty “F@*k”, “boing” is rewarded with a thunderous “sonofabitch”, and “toot toot” will be met with a sudden “shite!!”. It’s still in the earliest stages of development. I have an entire fake language to fabricate and we board in 15 minutes. Challenge accepted!

During boarding and I began to grow concerned that I would be seated with these hellions and their nonattentive mother. I was not even a quarter of the way through cataloguing the cacophony of sounds produced by these toddler gaming devices. I’d just have to wing it.

Having aircraft maintenance brought aboard shortly after hearing engine shutdown isn’t exactly confidence inspiring. The mechanic type was wearing a reflective vest I can only assume proofs him against getting sucked into jet engines. His vest had his name (was it really his?) scrawled in ink pen on the left side of his chest. This is equally detrimental to confidence. Do they go through so many of these guys that they can’t afford real name tapes? I wouldn’t spend money on name tapes that get sucked into engines while riding on the backs of fat hairy dudes either. To top it off, a flight attendant waited until he was done to approach and tell him to “Come look at something back here because they are just hanging off”. I thought she might have been talking about his pants or her ancient bust, but mention of either is generally frowned upon in public. Seriously though. She was like 80 and heavy chested, but still liked to show off the girls. Consequently, her v-neck revealed a navel piercing between her cleavage.

There is a woman who at some point changed into pajamas and ran her seat row mate off of her row so she can sprawl across the three linear feet of luxurious space afforded by the acquisition of multiple seats in coach. I suppose this is possible to one when one can bully another out of seats. She was a large and scary looking woman, truth be told. The bully, not the mouse that scurried out of the bully’s path.

Had dinner with my daughter and a tranny. He\she is a friend of my daughter from her college years. He got married right out of school, joined the army, became a father, and then decided that he was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. Obviously, he needed to transition to realize this to the fullest extent possible. Never mind that all straight men are lesbians trapped in men’s bodies. The point is that I knew him when he was a him. Back then I kept my head shaved, but have since grown it out. I was passing through SeaTac and it just so happened that my daughter was in town visiting her friend and she thought it would be cool for us to go get something to eat during my layover. Imagine my surprise when a young man I once knew showed up dressed as a girl. His makeup did little to cover up his tendency to a heavy five o’clock shadow and he was now blonde. Not sure how to approach the situation, but not wanting to be rude either, I extended my hand and shook his firmly. I then made related fuax paxs (fuaxs pax?) in calling him by the original name by which I knew him and winced every time I said him or he.

It was all really quite exhausting. The point is that he/she made comment as to me having more hair than last time we saw each other. I played with the idea of pointing out that he does too, but wasn’t sure if he’d know I was referring to his head or making an insensitive remark about the five o’clock shadow. Seriously, Mark Anna. Stop being so sensitive.

The inflight entertainment was a Will Smith movie about football and concussions. Not real sure about more than that as I never bothered to plug earphones in. What I was more interested in was the caliber of the television screen on which it was displayed. I’m actually surprised it was in color because the image quality was so low you could distinguish individual pixels. Honestly, it was like watching a show about football and concussions as told in the world of Minecraft. Plus, there is no Wi-Fi. How primitive is this aircraft? Is it reliable? It’s cool though. Being an almost history major I enjoyed experiencing firsthand what it must have been like for Icarus. Fine. Maybe that was over the top. Change Icarus to Orville and Wilbur Wright. Really? Icarus? I never claimed to be a Greek history buff.

Then they showed a wonderfully whimsical movie about miners and it opened with the statement that 12,000 die every year. From Puss in Boots to this, Banderas? I’m really quite disappointed in you. I think the selections have been by design, really. Not Antonio’s selections in films he wants to make. The selections by the airlines designed to put us at ease about being ensconced in a heavy metal cigar tube filled with volatile petrochemicals needed to fire these whirling mechanical failures waiting to happen that they call turbine engines. They show us movies like this so we think “Whew! Glad I’m safe up here and not getting my skull bashed in by that beast of a linebacker”. Or “Dodged that bullet! No chance of getting stuck in a collapsed mine from up here!” Better yet “Suck it you strangely shod feline! I’m safely up here with Melanie Griffith. What do you have going for you? A little flashlight on your head and maybe a canary or two to split with 32 other trapped miners?” OK. So, that got away from me a little, but the point is that I’d rather be up here eating tasteless little chicken patties with fake grill marks than down there eating a helmet full of brain damage or trying to fend off the clingy advances of Antonio’s bipolar wife. Well played airline entertainment coordinator.

Are they still married? If not, I can’t say blame him. She might be adorable, but she is way too fragile in a crisis.

It seems that there is some federal mandate regarding the position of the single most superfluous part of a chair when you are aboard an airplane. Armrests must be down while the aircraft is in flight. Mine isn’t. I’m a rebel. Something like a pirate, maybe. A sky pirate. Scourge over the seven seas. Denizen of the deep….blue sky. Fine. Yes, ma’am I will put them down. Just get your belly button ring out of my face.

The Minecraft TV showed us fun facts like the fact that we were moving at 1 knot while we were in fact standing still on the tarmac. It also showed us at an altitude of 400+ feet while still on the ground. I suppose I could overlook both of these as calibration or our location in relation to sea level. Then it showed us something I wasn’t cool with: We were leaving Yokota, Japan bound for Osan, Korea. And we were heading due south. Last I checked, Korea would be a right turn if you were pointed south. I then theorized that the pilot had possibly hogged all the little shot sized bottles of whiskey from the galley. He must have heard me because the little Minecraft plane icon took a wobbly yet inadequate right hand turn. The alpha flight attendant then decided to put on something else to watch. Honestly, I’d much rather watch our inebriated captain’s drunken globe trotting. Despite my loss of suitable entertainment, I still think I’ve experienced a net gain. Yokota proved to be the final destination of the trio of baby banshees that disrupted my every attempt to sleep during our trans pacific crossing.

Landing at Incheon was far different for me than it was for MacArthur and his boys. I’m actually OK with that. It was a little unsettling though. Koreans seem to treat movement from gate to gate as a sporting event. I felt a little like I was in a Godzilla movie with all the Asians running around frantically. Yes, I know Godzilla was Japanese, but we’d just left Japan, so there is no telling what the Koreans were running from. Better keep up.

The last leg of my journey was spent drooling on myself during a bus ride to Seoul as I finally got some sleep. And now we’ve come full circle with me in the RoK having inexplicable dreams.

Good times.

PTassD

A friend and former medical care provider who will remain anonymous posted a video today about a girl who was suing the guy who saved her from drowning. The plaintiff was under for about two minutes, so this dude jumped in and saved her. She woke up a little while later and apparently his touching her in order to get her out of the water was a violation of her body. So, she is suing for “hashtag save rape”. Her words. Not mine. Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself here:

So, I messaged Doc. “I was save raped by my old battalion’s physician’s assistant.”

Maybe I should just back up a moment and provide backstory. That was really not meant to remotely resemble a pun, but it kind of reads that way in my head.

Long story short, I was dying. Not as in dying my hair. As in I was dying of an indeterminate malady I like to call “Fort Polk I hate your face what did you do to me”, or FPIHYFWDYDTM for short because I’m a super creative wordsmith. I really wanted to call it something else beginning in the letter P to go with Polk, but all I could find was related to a nipple malady of which I thankfully unfamiliar. And quite frankly, my nipples are fine, if not wholly unnecessary. Also quite frankly, this long story short is about to take a strange turn. My apologies.

After running an exhaustive battery of tests which revealed nothing, family history came into question and the decision was made to examine my prostate. Good times. I was too weak at this point to drive. On top of this, I was also a little nervous about the whole procedure. It’s not everyday someone you know puts a finger in your butt. I can’t believe I’m even considering sharing this information on an open forum. Awesome. Not really. The PA is a tiny woman, so I had that going for me. My wife, Doc, is a shrink so not much help there unless the idea is to psychoanalyze (Oh my god so much makes sense right now reading that word) my prostate, she wasn’t going to be much help in this particular situation.

*Fun Observation: In retrospect, this might have worked given the opinion of my wife and my father that my head often needs to be removed from the location being discussed.

imagesStill, I felt better having her in the room because the PA had to have a chaperone and I wanted one as well because I was not about to be caught outnumbered with my pants literally down. Her chaperone of choice was a male medic who I promptly instructed to face the wall while Doc sat in a chair shaking in poorly disguised mirth. I was outnumbered after all. The procedure was over quickly enough. I squeaked and counted unexplained lights that popped up before my eyes.

The PA was very professional about it and had spectacularly tiny fingers. In hindsight (don’t say it), the three showers, a pack of baby wipes, a Brazilian, and cologne booty spritzing seemed like a bit of a waste considering how quickly it all ended. Oddly, I feel an inexplicable sense of empathy now when I overhear ladies speaking of disappointing dates.

The PA and her medic left the room to give me a moment to pick my pants and my dignity up off the floor. Doc burst into uncontrollable laughter. At least her bladder was on my side. It made all kinds of threats against her while she gleefully howled at my plight. It was at the peak of her tearful laughter that the PA walked back into the room and asked Doc if she was OK. I think she even hugged Doc at some point but I can’t be sure because eye contact felt weird so I just looked at my feet. Seriously? Is SHE OK? You didn’t even probe her derrière. I didn’t get a hug. Isn’t a kiss customary after an encounter like this? Apparently, the PA thought she was crying because of my unexplained sickness to which we still had no answer. So, what happened?

Doc replied, “I’m fine, but he has PTassD!” At which point they both broke into gleeful vocal demonstrations.

Now that you have the facts in my short story made far longer than I’d intended, I’ll return you to my original purpose for writing this entry.

“I was save raped by my old battalion’s physician’s assistant.”

“You were not,” she began. “You consented and I was sitting right there so it was more of a twisted ménage a trois.”

“A dying person can’t give consent. I wasn’t in my right mind. I have been save raped by a tiny Carnival dancer. This is almost certainly not what Sir Elton John was referring to in “Tiny Dancer”, which makes it that much more rapey. #save rape.”

Then that song went through my head coupled with psychoanalysis and misheard lyrics. It’s “in my hand” not “in my head” so the location of my noggin in relation to my prostate isn’t on the table any longer. Boom! Dad and spouse theory on my head’s location debunked!

I had an epiphany. The song was prophetic. Go read the lyrics when you are done here and tell me I’m wrong. She’s a dancer, was having a busy day, I was on a sheet of paper and I’m sure linen has been used to make paper, I made a little squeak that possibly only she could hear. There’s more, but I really don’t want to discuss the “Now she’s in me” part of the lyrics.

This is What Happens When I Sit Down to Write

According to my Professor, I should be spending two hours a day writing in order to complete the first draft of short story that is due next week. “Write. Write. Write. And Write some more,” She tells us. I don’t think this is what she intended. But who can really know the minds of Professors anyway? Seems reasonable enough at first except for a few key points. First, we have to read like sixteen short stories and write critical reviews on a half dozen fellow student’s short story proposals. There are three proposals per student and each had to pose two to three questions they wanted input on in addition to the grading rubric. I hate that word, by the way. Next, write a critical analysis of setting in one of the sixteen short stories. No problem.

Herein lies the rub. It’s a creative writing course with a focus on fiction. While I love fiction, I decidedly suck at it. If you have read any of my blogs, you might be thinking the same thing. Rest assured that none of what you have read is fiction. I guess maybe non-fiction isn’t my forte either. So, I come up with these fictional short story ideas and we collectively narrow things down to the one I’ll focus on. Research is now required in order to write about that of which I know nothing. Have you ever tried to research something you made up? Resources are a bit elusive, truth be told. So, forty-seven and a half hours of research later, I’ve managed to come up with some pretty good stuff but my attention span is roughly equivalent to that of a goldfish and I ended up watching funny dog videos on YouTube, binge watching The Santa Clarita Diet’s entire first season, piddling around on Face Book, taking a nap, and writing this blog entry.

It is settled then, I’ll regale my Professor with a tale of a particularly spiritual Zen master frog with a sordid past… Maybe not. I actually just made that last bit up.

*Note to self: Explore the Tantric Toad idea. You could make him the savior of his people as they vie against the French and the Cajuns. Maybe some rednecks too. Yeah. They can come along. I guess it was too much for him to see the love of his life laying in a home for the legless. He really liked those legs. So did Pierre.

I Feel Your Pain, Perseus

Over instant messenger, I inserted myself into my wife’s morning in typical fashion. “I have proof you are a goddess.”

“Well ok then,” Doc responded.

“Follow my logic here,” If fingers could take a deep breath before spewing forth several lines of truth they wanted read before being stopped, that is what mine did. “We both know that as a rule, I do perfectly well without human contact. I do not, however, do well with protracted lack of contact with Doc. Therefore Doc is not human. Is Doc some other type of fauna? Obviously not. Is Doc an alien? Only to herself. The only logical conclusion is deityhood. Perhaps you were assigned to me in order to countermand the designs of my mother, Nergala. This indicates you are a deity aligned with the forces of good.”

“LOL,” was her only reply.

“How did the shower go?”

“It’s tomorrow.”

“My bad. I see you do not deny the evidence placed before you. This confirms your status as one aligned with the light. An evil or neutral goddess would deny it or just lie about it outright. Goodness is further confirmed by your not having smote me at any point in our twenty-year marriage. Thanks for that. The not smiting thing. I’m sure being smote isn’t cool.”

“I don’t often want to smite you.”

“I do not often ever want to read Marx. It is putting me to sleep.”

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“Then my mind wanders off into you being a goddess which confirms I am something of a demigod over whom some shadow pantheon vie for control. So, there. That’s what I’m up to today.

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“Ollo? You there?”

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“Fine. Don’t answer my prayers then.”

Wretched Winter or Pique and Pretense. You Decide.

indexMany questions put forth to me of late can be answered quite simply. Questions like: Why are you in the gym at PT? Why aren’t you in formation? Why are you so grumpy today? Why are you wearing a three-piece arctic sleeping bag? Why are you laying on the ground?

The answer is “Winter”. Winter is more than a mere scapegoat, however. Each of these questions was asked of me today alone. So, let me explain. It was five freaking degrees Fahrenheit, that’s negative fifteen in Celsius, after the sun came up this morning. Before that, the temperature could only be measured in Del. Del are essentially anti-Scovilles. I would guess that the pre-sunrise Del reached as many as 50, which is almost equivalent of 20 bones breaking or giving birth to a human child, but only if you are male. Thankfully, we reached a balmy 24F/5C later in the afternoon and I was able to ditch the sleeping bag.

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That directly answers the gym-formation-sleeping bag question, but the grumpy and laying on the ground are a little more convoluted. It’s still Winter’s fault though. I think the grump kicked off after the gym. The gym part was pretty good, even though I was forced to watch the Green Bay Packers being skull-drug. After a good hour of cardio (10,000 steps before 0630! Tacos and cake for breakfast!), one works up a little perspiration. Said perspiration freezes instantly on contact with 45 Del weather, or roughly 90 anti-Scovilles. Reader’s choice, really. I did learn something interesting. If your sweatcicles form while you are wearing a fleece beanie, eyebrow waxing is completed totally free of financial burden. If you want to look slightly fish-like, it might be worth your while. All previous joy at the prospect of cake and tacos for breakfast became little more than whimsy.

A long hot shower eventually defrosted me sufficiently. Before getting dressed, I took the precautionary measure to drown the dry and cracking skin/scales of my legs in vast quantities of lotion. I sat down to eat and my body rebelled after the first mouthful of eggs. I should have never mentioned tacos and cake to it. My left foot twisted in an inordinately painful cramp (about 30 Del, I think) while doing its best impression of transformations normally rendered only in werewolf movies. Since I couldn’t straighten out the cramp, I reached down and uncurl the offensive phalanges, but they were in cahoots with other, more distant body parts. You know that tendon that runs from clavicle to somewhere near your ear? Yeah? That sinister sinew joined the cramp fest and snatched my chin to my chest. I think this may have been an attempt to empty the contents of my mouth since it was neither cake nor taco. Or is this like a normal allergic reaction to buttered shae?

presentation1*note to self: Never make that sound again. Especially if you are in bullfrog country during mating season.

So, there you have the source of grumpiness. I only compounded that state by taking out my trash, which is normally not a source of pique. This was the part that very nearly ended my life. Potentially life ending events are excellent sources of pique, so it’s fine. I’m justified in my pique-ishness. Indulge me: pique. Last one. I promise. I stepped onto a patch of snow by the little block buildings that serve as dumpsters where I’m stationed. It was more ice than snow, really and I caught myself sliding to my death in a dumpster. Considering that I had recently removed approximately 187 pounds of trash from the communal laundry facility, I think it safe to say that if I broke something or became unconscious, none of the Lieutenants in this building would be happening by one morning to take out their trash. So, you see? Dying alone in a heap of empty detergent bottles and a million dryer sheets was a very real possibility.

If I could offer any one single piece of advice to anyone reading this that might be considering a career in the military, it is this: Never let your brothers and sisters in arms know when something bothers you. That thing that bothers you will become a point of great fascination for them. I swear many of them would gleefully poke at a bullet wound as long as they knew it was not truly life threatening. It’s a compulsion of sorts. Kind of like poking at the site of a dental procedure to see if it still hurts, maybe? Thus the “Why are you laying on the ground?” question. Because Winter. Because I wanted to construct a hasty snow angel for the Commander. Because I’m stretching after a really good workout. Anything. Anything other than I slipped on the ice and I think my tail bone is broken and I just peed on myself and can’t feel my legs. Can you help me with this snow angel? But be careful not to damage the lotion layer while moving my legs.

The 9th Circle

Doc loves finding little video clips demonstrating human stereotypes that she thinks fit me accurately. More often than not, she is way off base. Like the time she found some video of a guy with ADD and his family that raps and sings about it. I explained in that post how badly she got that wrong and went on to demonstrate such. Her response was to address me by her favorite pet name for me. I can’t repeat it here. Mixed company and all. But it is completely endearing. Honestly. I don’t know why.

However, I am a big enough person to give props where props are due. She found one recently that was ludicrously accurate. A video, I mean. Not a prop. It was more truthful than I can possibly relate given the limited nature of human language. If I spoke in the tongues angels or math maybe I could. But I don’t. So, I’ll just show you. Just to preface this, I am represented by the bulldog and she by the other creature that is insanely and inexplicably happy to cavort in the frozen powder that is my current nemesis.

https://www.thedodo.com/two-types-of-people-in-winter-video-2197418787.html

Look. I get it. It has been suggested to me that my lineage should have me happy in the absence of heat. One might think my Norse and Welsh blood would make me ok in the cold, but my Moroccan blood despises it. Can you think of a single ancient culture’s version of heaven that is freezing? I think perhaps Dante’s 9th circle is probably the most accurate depiction of hell ever rendered.

It’s not just the cold though. Of late, the second-place holder on my list of things-I-hate-about-winter is running a tight race for the top slot. Dry skin.

Dry skin might be a bit of an understatement. Just look at this image of my leg:

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I’ve taken numerous steps to combat the itch and the evidence of reptilian DNA. Regular lotions don’t quite work, so I found this cocoa butter and shea butter conglomerate that seems to help. I’m not entirely sure what a shea is, how you milk it to make butter, or why this particular dairy is good for your skin when the bovine butter clearly doesn’t work. Tried it. I don’t recommend it. The regular butter I mean. Look. You get desperate when itchy skin strikes during curfew and all you have is butter and olive oil.

One must be careful though. I’ve never really been a lotion kind of guy, so I am still learning things, such as the fact that certain lotions contain acid apparently and this acid reacts with scrapes and cuts in much the same manner as alcohol. Not the fun to drink kind. The kind that parents use to exact retribution for years of lost sleep by applying it to any little abrasion on their angelic son’s skin. I also learned some fascinating acrobatic feats designed to get into bed after a lotioning (it’s a word now, spell check). It’s amazing what traumatic brain injuries and bruised ribs can teach you when you have slipped nude and screaming from the edge of your bed while half asleep. Also, the floor is colder on your bare booty than it is on your bare feet or bare face for that matter. Close run second by nipples. But you can’t gouge furrows into vinyl tiles with a frozen butt cheek. So, it’s anybody’s game at this point, really.

PSA: Olive oil will stain your sheets and the smell sticks around for a while. The entertainment value might be worth it though. A clearly human shaped grease spot on linens confuses the crap out of MPs as well as the Korean police. If only it were warm enough to recreate this on concrete in front of the barracks. Although this might draw some strange looks in the middle of the day. Any time of day now that I think about it.

PS. Korean police do not believe in the Moth-man no matter how hard you try to explain it.