Jazz in Two or Three keys

Photo by Caleb Oquendo

I’m high from getting all the stuff done that I had wanted to get done, so I roll down the window to take in the tempered breeze seeming to herald spring’s approach and me all randy, so I stroll down Isaacs like a high school idiot cruising up Division on a Friday or Saturday night back in the day, turned up my ingratio-tunes, old school classic chassy romantic fantastical sing-alongs, and roll in at a con-store to pick up an iced frap in a bottle and chug that like it’s a beer, not caring about the caffeine against personal policy at 6:30 pm because I still have a few hours and miles to go. Living it up – me, as close as I get these days. On the edge Me. Needing to bust out like I’m all full of piss and hope and youthful energy. This is me on President’s Day, which I in no way observe, but it’s a Monday, a free one, and I’m on my way to choral society rehearsal where an old woman my mom’s age (but more alive and gregarious as hell and really needing to get out of the house where she’s been dutifully caring for her husband with cancer) talks me up non-stop for 15 or 20 because she recognized me from before and neither of us had been singing in the group for 7 or 8 years now, and are now delightfully met, along with the 4 or 5 others I had known in other contexts; then one of the old choir veteran tenors, head full of snow white hair and snow white beard to match, comes up to my seat, bends over with his hands on his knees, and conspiratorily says, “Now, back in the old days…” and he emphasizes “old” and I, like the silly smartass I can be for fun in social situations says, “You mean the Jurassic? the Paleolithic?” and he smiles and says he’d sung next to met at the high school gym when the choir was known by a different name and I says, “I don’t remember singing there, when was this?” and he says, “In the early 80’s” and I says, “Couldn’t have been me, I was just out of high school and into college,” and he looks at me, and there’s that delicious pause, you know what I mean, where the penny drops, then grinning in his teeth because he’s mistook me for someone older (I’m 60, he’s 85 and apparently neither of us likes acting our age much) he goes, “Well, hell, thanks a lot,” and turns to walk away and I laugh because of course this is a punch line, me laughing like a hyena or gleeful witch like I do in these social moments when I can entertain myself with a raucous cackle for the sheer fun and joy of that particular human activity – secretely figuring that a lot of folks forgot somewhere that laughing is a better music for the soul and world both than whining and bitching, them that dropped their selfless joy somewhere along the way of getting caught up in who the next prez is going to be and never bothering to go looking for it.

Photo by Luis Quintero

Dress Conference

Illustration by Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator. https://edoodless.wordpress.com

On the first of May in the year 2030 of the Common Era, a wondrous and throughly confusing thing ocurred: the world discovered that unicorns existed. Well, one of them did, anyway.

Even those who loved unicorns were astonished beyond belief. It turned out that unicorns were just a fun hobby for them. They didn’t actually think unicorns existed.

Upon discovery, the unicorn (a Camarillo with a head anomaly) was rushed under cover of night to the city zoo, where it remained safely ensconced until the city officials could decide what to do with it.

And to think all this time everyone believed in God and extraterrestrials. People all over the world were devoted to the notion that they were being surveilled, examined, abducted, studied, and occasionally made to disappear forever by these uber-intelligent green-grey people with ocular monstrosities from some distant galaxy.

Finally, the city officials made up their minds: they were going to rush the unicorn off to a small deserted island in the middle of the south Pacific, where it could live out its days in peaceful solitude, far from the soul-crushing crowds, among whom would certainly be Hollywood producers and infomerical talent scouts eager to snatch it up, get its hoofprint on a contract, and make an instant star out of it – to say nothing of getting filthy rich forever.

At midnight on a Sunday (meaning, just before Monday), when the zoo was closed and they would be relatively sure no one would be about (because they would be in bed early for Monday), the city officials (meaning the mayor and a half dozen garbage collectors) made their way into the zoo to get the, uh, animal.

However, when they reached the zebra cage (where they were temporarily housing it), they were astonished to find it gone! Someone had beaten them to it! Someone had stolen the unicorn! The mayor was apoplectic and the garbage guys were struck dumb – so dumb, in fact, that they froze looking at the floor, waiting for the mayor to do something.

Since the mayor could do nothing without making himself look foolish and ruin his chances for re-election, he went home to bed.

A few hours later the unicorn was having its hair brushed by the makeup department of the local GNN affiliate. Turns out it had broken itself out of the zoo. One of the garbage guys (who happened to recognize that it had the ability to understand human language) had secretly related the mayor’s plans to have it shipped to a deserted island. This was something the unicorn couldn’t allow. It was the only thing worse than being discovered in the forest disguised as a moose.

So the beast had hoofed it straight to the TV station, where (after the news crew and office staff had all recovered from their fainting spells) it urgently explained the need for a press conference, having no choice but to break the news that, yes, unicorns existed and, yes, it was one.

Now, they polished its hoofs and brushed it down and sprinkled glitter on it and applied eye-liner to make its eyes pop, and buffed its, um, corn. And they even wound a silky rainbow around its hair. (This, it thought, was overdoing things a bit.)

“And now a special report…we take you to our downtown correspondent, Merrycay Heyday, who has an amazing story. Hello, Merrycay!”

“Hi, Stan. Yes, we never thought we’d see this day!! I’m super excited because the world is about to wake up to a different world! I mean, everybody is going to wake up to a different reality…Wait…here she comes now!”

“Hi, everybody. Mr. Mayor, I’m sorry to do it this way, but I can’t be deserted on an island in the south Pacific, which is what you were going to do with me…”

(Gasps from the press corps)

“…I think it’s time everyone knows anyway…yes, unicorns are real and I am one. We’ve been in moose costumes for about 180 years now, and…well, they don’t work anymore. The inseams were coming undone and that’s how the hunters found us. Fortunately they were too stunned to shoot at us.”

“How do we know you’re not in a costume, now??!”

“Do you have a name?!?!”

“How many of you are there?!!??!!”

“They put all this makeup on me. Unicorns don’t look like this. We’re just horses with corns. I mean, horns. I’m not going to tell you how many of us there are because that would be the end of unicorns. And to prove I really am one, I’m going to rear up like a stallion so you can see I’m not two circus clowns in a costume.”

(Gasps. Camera flashes going off.)

“Oh, and one more thing. I know it’s been a lot of people’s fervent wish that unicorns really exist. But fervent wishes don’t amount to anything. The only things that are truly real are the things you believe in your heart.”

“Wow, that was impressive…well, Stan, the glitter’s about to hit the fan when this rolls for the morning news, eh? Hahaha! I made a cute joke! Back to you!”

“You can say that again, Merrycay!! Thanks a lot and…wait, what’s that sound?? Is that a flying saucer??!!??!?!?!?!?”

(Unicorn: “Oh, crikey…”)

Thanks to Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator (https://edoodless.wordpress.com), who gave me permission to have fun with a thoroughly silly story based on her cheeky illustration. Check out her doodles!

No-Peril Apparel

“A woman should someday write the complete philosophy of clothes.” – Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

Wear leggings 75 percent of the time and jeans 25 percent of the time.

Protocol for Jeans:

  • any number of rips, tears, or holes will do, provided it doesn’t violate your employer’s dress code and your under the age of 45. After that it just gets weird.
  • reserve at least one pair as your favorite, which you can wear more than one day in a row.
  • tight jeans are an exception to the 15-second rule for dressing (see below).

Ask yourself: is it comfy? is it cute? is it convenient? does it take more than 15 seconds to put on? do you have at least seven of them?

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Avoid skirts or dresses at all costs, unless called for by wedding events or rare romantic outings.

Avoid high heels, with the same exceptions.

Black is your favorite color. White is generally evil.

You can never have too many shoes. Or slippers. Or comfy boots. Or belts.

Never dress to show off. Always dress to be YOU.

The general purpose of clothes is: 1) to have fun, and 2) to cover the body.

Reserve ugly/frumpy clothes for those days when: 1) you’re in a mood and don’t care what you put on; 2) you have to make a quick trip to the store for something (wear a hat and/or hoodie for disguise).

You cannot have too many clips, ties, pins, loops, studs, dangles, bangles, rings or blings.

Consider your own YouTube channel for try-on hauls. It’s all the rage.

Disclaimer: I am not a woman.

Farm Eight

If this were 1781 or 1856 I’d write the weekly letter home.

“Dearest Mother, How is Aunt Maybelle? Tell her not to take too much of the laudenum. As it is habit forming.

“As for myself I am confined to my room with a corona sickness. But do not fear. I know that my redeemer liveth and by the grace of God I shall come through. Do not worry over much.”

But this isn’t something to write home about. It’s the damned flu is all and I need someone to poke a hole in my head to relieve the pressure. For all its side effects trepanning had its advantages.

I fell asleep and in my nap I found myself on a farm crouched on the ground at the foot of a deep hedgerow. Something was calling to me. It was necessary to humble myself with an ear to the ground and an eye in the dirt to peer into the dim tangle of undergrowth.

In a moment I saw something I hesitate to describe. No doubt some will judge me to be touched. I don’t doubt it, but that’s beside the point.

It was a family of field mice just sitting down to supper. The table was simply but neatly laid. Grandfather was present (he was the one moving slow, as he seemed to have a bum leg, deformed, perhaps, by an unfortunate encounter with some sort of spring-loaded contraption), and there were, I think, only 15 children.

The sound of the tiny dinner bell is what had drawn my attention. Such a cozy, home-spun simplicity was something of which Thoreau would have been proud. I wished I could join them, the feeling was so strong.

It was a peaceful rural scene to be sure, and my perspective on small agri-rodents changed forever.

But alas, the moment left as quickly as it came. The scene was withdrawn from me, so I withdrew my head from the hedge in resignation and found myself in bed sick again, drooling from the mouth and snotting (?) from the nose.

“Dearest Mother, believe me when I say that to judge another species from recycled hearsay and fairy tales is the height of foolishness.

“Also, it is a good idea to lay on your back whilst napping.”