Friday, May 31, 2013

National Masturbation Month: the final day

I'm sure you all know today is the last day you are officially permitted to play with your genitals. Yes, we should all observe a moment of silence at midnight tonight to honor the end of National Masturbation Month ..... followed by an ah .... ah .... ah .... aaaahhhhh.

Masturbation has gotten a lot of exposure this month on blogs and in the news. You can't miss it, so I suspect you've probably been as busy as I have celebrating. I wanted to write something here sooner about it, but it's so hard (that's what she said) to write with one hand. I even tried using my feet, but I just couldn't concentrate long enough to .... uh oh ..... oh yeah .... Be right back .......

Oh .... yeah. That felt good. Anyway .... 

I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about. Sure we teach kids not to wank in public, and that seems fair, especially for guys. So messy. But otherwise, why should anybody else give a shit if you're enjoying your own pleasure zone? I just don't get it.

Oh, yeah. That's going to work.
None of the reasons make sense to me, including the threat of hell. Spilling the seed? There's more where that came from. (Came from. Get it?) Pleasure is bad? Really? Fuck that. I'll have a steak and a glass of good chardonnay with my orgasm. Women can't be controlled if they have orgasms ..... Grrr. Say that to my face, you fucking misogynist. No, really. My face is up here. My lady bits are none of your fucking business unless I invite you to partake of their wondrous delights.

Fortunately I can't be fired for saying I think people should masturbate. But I will say it and I have. Even to my own kids.

I gave my son 3 reasons to masturbate: 1. To let off steam so he wouldn't be tempted to engage in sexual activities he wasn't ready for or that might be unsafe. 2. To learn how to control his orgasm because not enough men can. And 3. because it feels really good and, unlike going to the movies or playing World of Warcraft, it doesn't cost a dime.

And my daughter? Yep, she got 3 reasons too. 1. To let off steam so she wouldn't be tempted to engage in sexual activities she wasn't ready for or that might be unsafe.  2. Because a woman needs to get to know her own body and her own response before she can guide her lover to the right spot. And 3. because it feels really good and you don't have to sleep in a wet spot.

Look, I realize National  Masturbation Month is the Hallmark holiday of a large sex toy store, Good Vibrations. But the fact that so many people had to write about it and titter about it and create e-greeting cards about it means we still haven't blown our wad on the topic.

I really don't get it. When there are so many real stigmas in the world to concern ourselves with -- Coke, car emissions, polar bears, obesity, Justin Bieber, guys who wear their pants under their butts -- why should any of us care if somebody else is having fun with his cock or her clit? Why?

I guess I'm luckier than a lot of people. My parents didn't tell me not to do it nor did they tell me to do it. They didn't tell me anything, including the names for my lady bits. I didn't realize I had a vagina until that hot summer day when I wanted to go swimming and I had to learn how to insert a tampon. There were no words in our vocabulary for what I had down there. Not one.

The Methodist church, at least at that time, apparently didn't have an opinion because I don't remember bringing home any Sunday school papers with warnings about the dangers of masturbation nor do I remember any sermons about the topic. I probably could have stayed awake of the minister had talked about jerking off. Then again, if he had talked about it, he would have had to talk about it. Better to act like things like vaginas and orgasms don't exist.

So how about you? Did you masturbate this month? You've got one more day if you want to stick to the official calendar.  Better take advantage of it. You  know the wank bank doesn't earn interest, right?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The weight of Memorial Day


I hate Memorial Day weekend. Or maybe the word I want is dread. I dread it like you might dread a triple root canal or the last episode ever of The Office or the death of a relationship.

I don't dread it because it's a day to remember those who have died. If I were home in the small Iowa town I grew up in, I would attend the flag ceremony at the cemetery and shed a few tears as I gazed up at my dad's flag with his name on it. Some years a family member sends me photos, and even those are poignant. My dad was 46 when he died in 1983. He was proud of his service in the Army, and he would be proud to see his name flying on that flag.

I would also visit my grandmas' graves and leave a geranium at each.

When I was a child, we would all pile in the car with the two grandmas -- the maternal and the paternal -- and visit graves all over the county in tiny countryside cemeteries. We'd start early in the morning by cutting all of the perennial flowers from Grandma B's garden and putting them in water in plastic waste baskets. Dozens and dozens of iris, peonies, daisies, tiger lilies, and the ferns that grew along one side of her house.

Mom and the grandmas would pack a big picnic lunch with fried chicken, potato salad, strawberries and angel food cake that we'd wash down with lemonade. We'd eat around noon in whatever cemetery we were at, being careful not to sit on the actual dead people who were stretched out in front of their carved stones. The rest of the day we traveled to the graves of long-dead (at least to a kid) relatives and carefully laid the flowers at the headstones.

As we drove through the cemeteries, us kids would reach our hands out of the car windows and try to touch the granite gravestones with our fingers, but Dad told us if we hit one it would cut our fingers right off so we just pretended to touch them.

No, these memories aren't why I hate this holiday. I hate this holiday because try as I might to push them aside, those pesky anniversary feelings -- my friend the Hot Italian calls it a mild case of PTSD -- darkens the edges of my world, and colors the days leading up to it gray.

I'm waiting, you see. I'm waiting for the anvil that's tied above my head with a frayed rope to fall, like it has the past few years. That's why I hate this holiday.

I realize anniversary feelings are ghosts, the past, never to happen the same way again in my life. But I'm kind of on a roll here. The past three years this weekend has brought one kind of relationship hell or another, and I don't think it's crazy to greet these days with some trepidation. It's become a pattern. Instead of memorializing people who have passed on, Memorial Day weekend has come to represent the death of close relationships -- relationships with people I loved, who were important (to me). For three years in a row, this weekend was the time when the nails were pounded irreversibly into the coffins that held those relationships. (Sure it's a tired metaphor, but it's fitting, don't you think?)

I don't want to write the stories of those weekends or of those relationships, although I have to admit, they are kick-ass stories involving the police and lies upon lies and toxic hypocrisy so fucking deep it's not worth excavating, in that order, through those 3 years. I could write them; they are my stories to tell, but I don't want to relive them any more than the stupid anniversary feelings are making me.

So maybe someday I will tell those stories here, but not tonight. Tonight I can feel that anvil swinging and swinging above my head, and the snap of tiny fibers ...

Yeah, this anniversary stuff is just ghosts. I've been through rough patches with holidays before. I suffered through a string of Christmases that I thought would never end. The first one LtColEx had orders to Korea for a year after just spending 6 months in DC, and he was leaving January 2. The entire holiday felt like the Last Supper. The next year, he was still in Korea, and the kids and I celebrated alone. Even for a military family, it was a rough one.  The next year my dog died a horrible week-long death as his body attacked his red blood cells.  And the year after that I fell face-first into our brick hearth 4 days before Christmas. The damage took over a year and a half to repair -- as much as it could be repaired. I was lucky I didn't end up on the mantle next to the box of standard poodle ashes. It was almost as bad as all those Christmases when I didn't get a pony.

But the year after that, nothing horrible happened. And the year after that and after that ..... I know the pattern can be broken.

People often tell me everything happens for a reason, that there's a lesson and it will keep coming back until I learn it.

I'm not sure I believe that. There are certain lessons I don't need to have pushed in my face over and over. I get it.

If I've learned any lesson from the jagged edges of those broken Memorial Day relationships it's this: No matter how close you think you are to another person -- no matter how much you care for him or love him or want to take care of him -- we are all actors on our own lonely stages. I could have saved myself much heartbreak by remembering I'm just a walk-on in everybody else's play, so it's better to be the diva in my own story.

This year I've been smart. I haven't let anybody get close enough to leave a hole in my life if they disappear this weekend -- at least not at ground zero like the past 3 years.

If I could just become a hermit this weekend, avoid the entire thing, I would. But I'm babysitting both of my kids' dogs, so they'll be coming Sunday and Monday to pick them up. 

And Free to a Good Home is playing at a festival north of the city tomorrow evening. We've been practicing for months, so I have to get out there and face one day of the weekend.

But after the festival tomorrow, I am going to retreat from social media, from social engagements, from anybody I don't want to lose. Fortunately, that's a lot of people. More than enough to balance those Memorial Day losses of the past 3 years. I'll stay home, count my blessings, and hope Memorial Day passes me by this year.

Superstitious? I suppose it is. It's just one weekend though. Maybe I can change the pattern. Cross your fingers for me, OK?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Snippet from band practice: disposal stories

I know. It's not really a band practice; it's a band rehearsal. But who ever says, "I've got band rehearsal" and maintains any level of cool at all? Nobody. It's fucking band practice and semantics be damned.

Yes, I really wrote that.

And now the snippet.

Reticula: [The band sits around my dining room table taking a break.] I had a really weird dream last night. It was the middle of the night -- in my dream, I mean -- and I walked into a kitchen, heard scrabbling in the sink, and realized a mouse was trapped in one side of the sink. I was trying to figure out how to get it out of there, and it started jumping, trying to get out. So I thought about getting something to put over the sink so it couldn't jump out and run around the rest of the house pooping everywhere. I thought about getting a big piece of mat board to cover the sink, but then I realized it wouldn't solve the problem to just trap it there. I needed to kill it. So I wondered how I could get it to go into the garbage disposal and .....

Joe: It takes longer than you think.

Chicken Grrrl: Euwwww. You killed a mouse in a garbage disposal?

Joe: No, I didn't say that. I just said it takes longer than you think to kill something with a garbage disposal.

Reticula: I thought it seemed like a humane enough way to dispose of a rodent. How long could it take? They have tiny bones.

Joe: I'm telling you it takes longer than you think. I have experience with killing animals. Remember we had rabbits and I froze one and roasted the other .... I didn't mean to do that.

Reticula: Yeah, but you didn't put them in the garbage disposal did you? Tell me you didn't do that .... 

Joe: No, they were already dead. I didn't need to.

Chicken Grrrl: This is so gross. Just tell us what you killed in a garbage disposal. I hope it wasn't a mammal.

Joe: It was a plecostomus. 

Chicken Grrrl: What the hell is a plecostomus?

Reticula: It's a sucker fish. It sucks the algae off the sides of an aquarium.

Joe: Yeah, and they get really big. And I think it somehow got rid of all the other fish. It had to die.

Reticula: They get as big as the aquarium size allows, but they don't hurt other fish.

Joe: I don't know about that, but this one got big and it was the last one left. [Pause for a sip of cheap wine.] I think maybe I just got tired of taking care of the aquarium so it had to go. The point is it takes longer than you think.

Reticula: I had one get really big and I just took it to a pet store and they were glad to take it. Some people are looking for bigger fish ....

Joe: Oh. I guess I didn't consider that option. Like I said though, it takes longer than you think.

Reticula: Even when I woke up I couldn't think of a better way to take care of the problem. It had to be the garbage disposal. It would be pretty quick, wouldn't it? I mean the death?

Joe:  I'm telling you, it takes longer than you think.

[Chicken Grrrl: Head on table.]

Reticula: What the hell would you have done with a mouse that was trying to jump out of the sink? You can't just pick up a mouse with your hands. That would be worse than the garbage disposal.

Joe: I'm just saying ....

Reticula: I know. It takes longer than you think.

Joe: Should I tell you about the vicious hamster now?

Chicken Grrrl: That box of wine isn't empty, is it? I need another glass before we start practicing again.

Mmm. Richard Gere.
Note: Because this is a snippet, I didn't include the discussion we had about how people put gerbils up their poop chutes for sexual pleasure. Or rather about how Dan Savage says nobody really does that before he describe how people would do it if they did do it. Somehow that's worse than putting a live mouse or plecostomus in a garbage disposal. I'll sum it up by saying it takes longer than you think to safely set a gerbil loose in your ass. Safe for you, I mean. The gerbil was never safe once it was destined to travel up in somebody's colon.

(Also, no matter what you've heard. Richard Gere did not put a gerbil in his ass. That is an urban legend.)