schadenfreude : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

All The Many Ways I Told You So

Mmm, hmm. There are things I know and know with certainty. There are things I know that people deny. There are things I say that are fundamentally true but are denied time and again by those around me.

Know this, good readers of my blog: Squirrels are vermin. They are not cute, they are not cuddly, and they are not adorable. They are rodents and should be treated as such.

I say this to the squirrel huggers and they tell me that I’m being silly. I say plague and they scoff.

So here’s how we are going to play this today. I am going to repost something I wrote in 2007. And then at the end I’ll give you an update to show you just how exactly 100% right I am.

Then I will do a superior dance. You’ll have to just visualize that one but know I’m dancing hard like I’m counting coup.

I am a woman of the west. The real west. The range land, unpopulated and dirt covered west. I know things. Behold.


____________________________


People who are not like us…

First published June 12, 2007

So, where I live, we have a lot of squirrels. Now when I say “a lot of squirrels” I don’t mean “oh my, there’s quite a few out there”. I mean a whole horde, an army, a remuda, of squirrels.

They run around everywhere, up and down power lines, around trees, hither and yon. When I go for a walk at noontime from work, I walk down this one street and they scatter in all directions like a squirrely sea of doom.

People here think they are cute. Find them amusing. The fluffy tails make them laugh. People here FEED THEM. Yes, they put out food for the little b*stards.

They don’t understand my revulsion, my utter HORROR that these vermin are allowed to roam free in a civilized society.

They don’t understand this because I am a New Mexican. One of the bonus features of being raised in New Mexico is, da da dummmmmm, bubonic plague.

In fact, according to an article in today’s ABQjournal, there have already been four cases this year, including a boy who died.

To quote the article, “Plague, a bacterial disease, is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, such as rodents, wildlife and pets.”

Unh huh, no wonder every little rat with a fluffy tail gets the suspicious eye from me. Early on in life my mom would yell at all us kids to stay back from any wild creature, especially the small rodenty kind.

I will not draw one of those beady-eyed plague-carrying varmints closer to me or my home! I live in a duplex and for a while my next door neighbor put out bird seed with no cover or protection from the squirrels. I would stare horrified out my living room window to see a swarm of the things eating with reckless abandon in my back yard.

THE PLAGUE!!! THE PLAGUE!!!!

In my old place, a couple of squirrely warriors had an epic territory battle on the roof right over my apartment. Not only did I have to hear the squeals and the death call of the loser, I *freaked out* about the dead rodent right there over my doorway. As you know, fleas leave the dead rodent searching for a new home.

I shall print out the referenced article and keep copies handy for the next person who looks me and says “how can you not like squirrels, they are sooooo *cute*!!”

I’m keeping an eye on you, you plaugey b*stards!!!!


____________________________


And now, the update and my vindication:

Plague-Infected Squirrel Closes California Campground

A plague-infected squirrel has closed a California campground for at least a week, according to Los Angeles County health officials.

The squirrel, trapped July 16 in the Table Mountain Campgrounds of Angeles National Forest, tested positive for the infection Tuesday, prompting a health advisory and the closing of the campground while investigators tested other squirrels and dusted the area for plague-infected fleas.

…L.A. County health officials are urging Angeles National Forest campers to avoid contact with wild animals, steer clear of squirrel burrows and report any dead squirrels to the department of health. (emphasis added)

Oh! Oh! There it is. The I Told You So Dance.








Doing the Superior Dance

A few years ago, in fact, almost three years back, The Good Man and I joined a book club affiliated with our local library. It was run by a really intelligent librarian who was pretty good at managing the club.

She’d do thorough investigations around the book and its topic and would bring up insightful questions for discussion. The first book we read for the club was “A Confederacy of Dunces.” It was an offbeat choice, and I personally struggled to finish the book.

It took The Good Man and I talking about the story for me to understand it and see if for the bit of brilliance it really is.

The library book club was populated mostly by people over the age of seventy, and they were not especially amused by the book. It was an odd club meeting that night. I was unsure if we should continue on, but decided to give it another chance.

The Good Man and I read the next few books and participated in the book club, and for the most part, we enjoyed it.

Then the librarian chose the book “Three Cups of Tea” for the group to read. A non-fiction choice, this was a pretty wide divergence from where we had been. But ok! The book had great reviews and was quite popular.

So I settled in and read it. And I hated it.

I mean, I get it. I get why everyone is so enraptured by Greg Mortenson. But I personally thought his story was a load of yak crap.

For one, I didn’t like the “how great I am” storytelling style. I’ve often found the greatest people don’t need to resort to that.

And for two, I bristled at the idea of this American man imposing his ideas of education and values on these people. I think building the schools is a good and worthy concept, but then get out of the way.

So I said these things at the book club. Well…that didn’t go over well. One especially nasty elderly woman took issue with me on that sentiment.

I should have just let it go. This nasty woman was also deeply offended at the section of the book where it was described how animal dung is picked up (with their hands! *gasp*) formed into patties and dried to be burned as a source of heat.

But she harrumphed and huffed and informed me that Mr. Mortenson was certainly fit for sainthood (in not those terms, but pretty close).

Well. Seeing all the breaking news this week. It looks like *I* was right.

: Superior Dance :



I’m sure that the nasty old woman doesn’t even remember that she was so harumphy at me. But I remember.

The sad news is, after that book club meeting, I was so turned off by the whole thing that I stopped going.

So in the end, she actually won.


When you point a finger…

How does that old saying go? When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you?

Something like that.

Was pulling the virtual slot machine lever on a blog idea generator, and the topic came up, “Write a letter to someone you need to forgive.”

Well geez. Make it easy, why don’tcha?

So I thought to myself, “Who do I have to forgive?” and an image came immediately to mind.

You see, there seems to be something I can’t get over. It’s childish and stupid, but for some reason I’m hanging on to this.

In considering how I’d write a letter to forgive, I realized…it’s not the other person I need to forgive. It’s me. I have to forgive myself for being such an assh*le sometimes.

Here’s the background:

It’s Saturday night, at the Gipsy Kings concert, sitting in the second row with my husband, excited for the show to start.

As showtime is close, in walks a gorgeous woman with dark hair, red lips, long toned legs clad in tiny white shorts, her top half in a tiny halter-top. She’s also wearing a radiant smile.

She’s beautiful. And she sits right in front of us.

Fine. Oh just…fine.

I look at her and I want to hate her. No. I look at her and I want to be her. On the outside, anyway.

The show starts and she and the guy she is with are drinking, they are laughing, they are having fun. She gets up to dance and catches the eye of the entire audience, the band, the roadies, the ushers, everyone.

She’s beautiful and she has rhythm and she lacks self-consciousness and she dances well. We can’t help but watch her.

I want to stop envying her, but I can’t. And all those ugly things that women think about each other I’m thinking in my mind.

As the show goes on, I stop looking at the woman and I get into the show. As I described yesterday, it was an amazing musical experience.

Toward the end of the show, I start to notice the lady in front of me again.

Everything she’s been drinking all night has started to catch up to her. She’s got her eyes laser set on one member of the band and she’s doing all she can to get and keep his attention.

She’s trying to dance just for him, but she’s so drunk, she’s wobbling on her high heels.

She shakes her medically enhanced boobs for the singer, and one pops out of her halter-top. Her boyfriend stuffs it back in and speaks sharply into her ear. He’s not happy.

She’s so drunk, she doesn’t care.

She keeps trying to dance in a sexy way for the guy in the band, but now it’s become sad. She’s stumbling around and sloppy drunk.

And I feel a little haughty. A little Dana Carvey as Church Lady high and mighty.

When the show ends and the band members are taking bows, she rushes up to the stage and summons the man she’s been vigorously trying to get the attention of all night, much to the dismay of her boyfriend.

He comes over to shake her hand and she tugs at him hard, almost pulling him off the stage. When he’s in range, she plants a sloppy kiss on his lips. The band man isn’t happy. The boyfriend isn’t happy. The lady throws her hands up in the air like a referee signaling a touchdown.

Now I’m embarrassed for her. In that haughty way I have.

The lady’s boyfriend says some words to her, trying to keep his cool. She’s so drunk, nothing is sinking in, so he grabs her hand and drags her away. He has to help her up the stairs out of the venue.

As we leave, we see them sitting on a low wall talking. Well, he’s talking. She’s trying not to pass out.

The Good Man and I go out to our car and we sit there waiting for the parking lot to empty out a bit. When we find a gap in the flow of cars, The Good Man turns on the car and hits the headlights. In the spotlight, we see the couple again. She’s now slipped-over-the-line drunk, unable to walk. Her high heels are off and she can hardly stand.

The suffering boyfriend now picks her up like a sack of flour, under his arm, and carries her drunk dead weight to their car.

I feel sorry for the man. And the lady.

And I feel smug.

As we drive home, for some reason all I can talk about is the lady and her boyfriend, and I don’t know why.

Why does this bother me? Why can’t I stop obsessing??

And so here’s the forgiveness part:

Dear Karen,

On the night of July 10, you, as they say in the vernacular, showed your ass.

Just because someone is physically attractive does not mean they are a better person than you…and just because they show they are human does not mean you are better than them.

It just means we’re all human.

How about you forgive yourself for all the things you think you should be and aren’t, and all the things you think you are but shouldn’t be?

How about just being ok being you?

Betcha it might make your days go a whole lot easier.

I forgive you. Now you forgive you too.

Go get ’em, tiger.

Love,

You

Oooh, karma is a b-word

So as mentioned, earlier this week, while getting my hairs did at the salon, I read the most current version of People magazine.

Air travel and hair fixin’s are the only time I let that kind of drivel inhabit my mind.

Aaaaaanyhow.

I noticed, while reading, an advertising for McDonalds and their new offering of Shrek 3 drinking glasses.

Oh did this take me back to my youth.

As a kid, I believe we had a set of Star Wars glasses. We also had a set of McDonalds character glasses, you know, Ronald McDonald, Hamburgler, etc.

I *loved* those glasses and loved collecting them.

However, they were made of such cheap glass that most ultimately broke in the dishwasher.

Ah well.

I thought it was a quite a bit of capitalizing on Gen X nostalgia that Mickey D’s was doing this sort of promotion again.

I had planned to write a blog post that was something like “Stop pandering to my generation! I know we are a target audience what with being at a good money making part of our careers and most of my peers with the house fulla kids! Google pandered with retro Pac-Man and now THIS?!?!?!”

Turns out I have to switch that slippery ol’ rant lever to “off”.

McDonald’s Recalls ‘Shrek’ Glasses.

Damn. Sorta stole my Friday blogging thunder.

Oh, and…