A To Z Challenge – U

april-challenge

When NBC convinced Johnny Carson to move his Tonight show from New York City to California, the changeover happened quite quickly.   His Burbank studio was ready far before he had a chance to buy or rent accommodations on the Left Coast.

He was put up for almost two months in a luxury suite at a ritzy local hotel. I don’t know if it was just having to live in unfamiliar, if posh, surroundings; if there was some friction between him and hotel staff and management; or if it was just an easy target for the gag-writers jokes.

Every night for weeks, there was a snide comment, and the Sheraton Universal was changed and referred to in his monologues as the Sheraton Unspeakable, the Sheraton Unreasonable, the Sheraton Uninhabitable, the Sheraton Untenable, the Sheraton Unbearable.

It was almost amazing how many U-shaped insults were crafted.  Finally, one night it became simply the Sheraton Unique, and we come to the word for this post about

letter-u

I recently composed a post about how huge percentages of the population have an overwhelming compulsion for conformity. They must be like everyone else, and everybody else must be exactly like them.

When the grandson was small, he was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies. Several of them caused behavioral problems, something the non-plagued are often not aware of.  Certain chemicals and compounds in food can cause physical and neurological stress, in turn causing moodiness, edginess, irritability, anger and lack of focus.

As a child it was relatively easy for his mother to watch his intake and ensure that he took his medication. As he neared puberty, and his character was developing, he regressed to sullen disinterest, if not disobedience, more so than most tweens.  Careful cross-examination revealed that he was sneaking foods from classmates, and not taking his pills.

When he was asked why he was doing this, even knowing his allergies, his answer was that he didn’t want to have allergies. He didn’t want a restrictive diet.  He didn’t want to take pills.  He just wanted to be like everyone else.

It didn’t take long to prove to him that ‘everyone else’ wasn’t like ‘everyone else.’ His Mom and his Grandma had to avoid certain foods and take medications.  When he looked closer, he found classmates with similar restrictions and needs.

Grandma, the chef, pointed out that the spelt-based cookies, cakes, bread and rolls, even the spelt-crust pizza, with lactose-free cheese and tamarind sauce, instead of tomato, were treats that no-one else got to have. Did he want her to stop making them for him?  The way to a man’s head, as well as his heart, is often through his stomach.

As a knowledgeable adult he can control the allergic affects, although he is still careful. As well as being a friendly, caring young man, he is largely indistinguishable from the rest of the herd, but he takes pride in knowing that he, like all the rest of us, is one-of-a-kind.  He is unique!  I don’t know why more of us can’t embrace that.

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Flash Fiction #86

Concours

PHOTO PROMPT – © Al Forbes

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

“What is that thing back there?”

“Hmmm, it looks like a 1908 Marmon automobile.”

“What’s it doing out on the Pacific Coast Highway?”

“Probably going to the Pebble Beach Automotive Concours. That’s a car show and contest for rich guys who restore and maintain classic cars.  Millions of dollars rolling around on narrow tires.  I can barely afford to drive past.”

“Boy, they must have really built them well in the old days. It looks a little breezy without a windshield, but, we’re doing seventy, and he looks like he’s trying to pass.  Slow down, I want a good look!”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Cognitive Dissonance II

Bible

A California lawyer has submitted a referendum proposal to outlaw homosexuality in the famously liberal western US state, on pain of execution.

“The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha,” reads the proposal, registered for comment on the attorney general’s website.

“Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us… the people of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method,” he wrote.

When I read this, I couldn’t understand why this man’s head didn’t explode, I know mine almost did. In seven words in the second line, this lawyer goes immediately from “freedom and liberty” to “commands us to suppress.” The arrogance of this religious Fundamentalist, is matched only by his ignorance.

Only the night before I read this, had I reluctantly watched with the wife, a National Geographic TV documentary about ‘homosexuality’ among animals. In a one-hour show they listed seven examples, including coyotes, dolphins and Canada geese, and mentioned that there were several more. So much for his imagined “crime against nature!”

I don’t know where you’d store an Ego large enough to make you think that you have the right to speak for God. Perhaps in the same twisted, dark corner of the brain where you believe, without proof, that homosexuality is ‘evil’, or that God deigns to command you to do His work, and suppress it.

The Bible does speak against homosexuality, but I have never heard or read of anyone who claimed that ‘God ordered’ them to do something, who could point to anywhere other than their fevered religious imagination, for validating ‘proof’ of their Crusade. These delusions can be suppressed with proper medication and therapy.

This man seems to fear death from a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah destruction. The self-believed expert on the subject even managed to misspell Gomorrah, in his application. If God didn’t take out various 17th century Italian cities, 18th century Paris, or 19th century London, He’s not going to stir himself about a bunch of fags in San Francisco.

Even were such a destruction to occur, does he not believe that the God of Love would forgive him, and the other innocent Lots, and condemn only the sinners? Does he feel that God is too stupid or venal to judge each of us individually?

Like many of his religiously judgemental confreres, his very zealotry proves that he is not actually familiar with the Bible, instead, relying on what he thinks it says, or what someone else told him that they thought it says. I can recommend several good short passages.

Love one another.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
As ye have done unto these, the least of my brethren, ye have done unto me.
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.
Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.

I feel sorry for depressing, narrow-minded, opinionated, supposedly-religious assholes like this….no I don’t! If they all died tomorrow, I’d stand in line to volunteer to load them into trucks with a pitchfork.

Amen means a soft, accepting ‘let it be’, not ‘use fire and sword to force your superstition on the infidels.’ We leave that to the likes of ISIS, who recently bulldozed down historic, artistic Iraqi Assyrian statuary. I feel sorry that the rest of us kind, loving people, like Job, are afflicted with them.

#497

Spring Forward – Fall Back

Nasty old Verna Equinox – AKA Mother Nature – has been toying with us this year.  She’s promised us since March the 21st that it’s Spring, but, like a drunken bar pickup, it’s a lot of talk, and very little action.

Despite Verna’s claims, it’s not really Spring until it warms up, and she just keeps teasing us.  Hold out a little sunshine and warmth – and then snatch it back with an icy hand.  Hold out a little….well, you’re living through it; you know what I mean.

We all want the warmth of real Spring.  We need it.  We hope for it.  Some of us pray for it – except in California, where they’re praying for rain.  They’d even take the forty days and forty nights, and out there, where Sodom meets Gomorrah, they might get it.

I think we all have those ‘It’s Really Spring When….’ benchmarks.  I know I do.  This year, every time we reached one, and hope began to blossom, Frau Nature took the proctology scope out of the refrigerator and said, “Bend over and cough – Bitch.”

It’s really Spring when all the snow finally melts – and two days later, I’m sprinkling the last of my urea crystals to melt the ice on my driveway and sidewalk.

It’s really Spring when you see your first robin.  The first one I saw was in a clothing store in the mall, buying a North Face insulated parka.

The ‘really Spring’ point for the gardener wife came a couple of weeks ago, when the nearby supermarket assembled their outdoor garden center.  We might as well buy plastic plants.  They’re just as hard, and they won’t wilt when they thaw out.

I thought I’d finally reached the ‘really Spring’ point Sunday night/Monday morning.  The ‘warm Spring rain’ had been coming down steadily for hours, and had finally melted the permafrost that is my front lawn.  The grass was so sodden that the poor earthworms were drowning, and were crawling up and out of the dirt to breathe.

Monday being garbage day, I was taking out the trash at 3 AM so that the neighbors would not be blinded by my sartorial splendor.  It’s really Spring because the earthworms are out of the ground, and all over my driveway.

Here I was, lugging two bags, and daintily pirouetting down the driveway, avoiding worms, in a pair of fleece shorts and slippers.  It’s not that I believe in the Hindu/Karma thing.  It’s just that She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn’t take kindly to having worm guts all over her floors.

Two days later, BrainRants could have used the worms like frozen spikes to hold down the planks on his rebuilt deck.

SDC10802

The above photo of my deck was taken at 3 AM Tuesday April 22nd, Earth Day.  Really, snow?? Again?? C’mon Ma Nature, over a month since you claimed it was Spring?  Have a hot flash or two.  I am so looking forward to putting away my ice scraper and snow shovel….  Wait, that means I have to get out the rakes and lawn mower.  🙄

#449

Flash Fiction #13

And He Lightly Touched Down

view-from-the-plane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His parents had worked their butts off to pay for four years of British boarding school.

He had worked his butt off for four years to achieve impressive grades.  He had studied hard, and absorbed everything he could to prepare himself for his career.

He had several employment irons in the fire back in California, and a couple of confirmed interviews.  If all went well, he would soon be earning enough to repay his parents.

Here he was, winging his way home, and on to fame and fortune.  If only he were as confident as he told himself he was.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

 

This can be considered Chapter 2, following my May 29 Flash Fiction #7 post, Stepping Up, Stepping Down.