Thoughts for the day 


My friend Doug and I finally have a retirement plan. When the (accidental) pants-wetting years come upon us, we're going to throw beer bottles off the porch at passers-by. In prison we'll get free health care, a vivid social life and time to watch "7th Heaven." It puts my mind at ease to know we have invested in our future.

I also figure this will save me from gardening. Someone in "Steel Magnolias" declared gardening mandatory for old Southern women; they must piss away their golden years in floppy hats and potting soil. The thought of having braved life just to end it dressed like a mule, talking like Jessica Tandy ... it's upsetting.

The worst part about it is that lately I have been under the weather and, unable to get out to the usual cockfights and snake-handling services, I have been spending time in my garden and ... I enjoy it. I love watching the flowers flower and the vegetables vegetate. I feel I should be doing much more important things, things that require clean hands and a degree, and so I steal time to play in the dirt like a kid ogling dad's porn stash while the old man is at church. Sometimes I go inside and try to get some Comet in my eye or something to vanquish this embarrassingly simple joy.

Easy does it

The mundane is like any other bad habit; you let it in a little at a time, and soon you find yourself clipping out Ann Landers' Gem of the Day, answering the phone with "eeeyell-O?" and no longer wondering whether George W. Bush is just Jim Bakker-evil or full-on, Bond villain-evil.

Lest I be perceived as catty, first off, I am catty. Second, I know that to plenty of people I am mundane because I have only one tattoo, own an iron and only like suburban drugs (things that need either a prescription or a glass). That's a mid-grade sort of mundane. I'm talking about thinking of McCall's as "reading." My phobia is that my mind, once full of textures, is going to be cluttered with sayings that are written in needlepoint or in books titled "Everything I Know I Learned From a Kitchen Magnet." "Thought for the day." Like you can only support one.

But these lace-edged banalities must make train cars full of money. Hallmark comes in 30 languages, and there's more "Chicken Soup for the Soul" than there are souls. Someone is paying for all those dried flowers and velveteen bunnies.

I've been looking for my chance to sell out since I tried to pay an electric bill with artistic vision and ending up throwing away lots of perfectly good yogurt after the refrigerator went dark. It's democratic to give the people what they want, so rather than seeing all my time in the garden wasted, I'm going to test my own brand of homespun, daily-affirmationy, chicken-wings-for-the-soul out on you. Check for the nearest exit and be prepared to be inspired.

Soothe sayer

There is a purple snap dragon on a plant that used to be only yellow and peach. What awesome variety there is in the world! And sometimes it's fun to look at a family and guess who fathered that one different kid.

There is a snail winding its phlegmy way past the marigolds, pansies, ants and spiders. It makes one reflect on the interplay of life in the universe and how the French will put anything in their mouths. I don't like their movies, either.

God, it's hot out here. I'm glad I have air conditioning. I feel sorry for poor people, but not enough to invite any in.

Sunlight and water. The flowers have such simple needs and yet are so beautiful. I'm sure there's a lesson in this, but I'll be damned if I know what it is. Simplicity is fine for petunias, but I need airfare, reliable movie schedules and the name of a good sushi restaurant to be happy. Being simple is fine if you're a hibiscus, but it's not a good quality in a person.

My tomatoes came back after six months of dormancy. I thought they were dead. It either proves that patience is rewarded or you can't count on even the most obvious things. One thing's for sure, it's faster just to get a tomato at Publix, although sometimes it can take weeks to get through the check-out line.

Light-green buds begin to appear on some of the flowers. I can't help but ponder on the reflection on the meditativeness on the amazement of new life and how something so tiny is so strong. And how Winona Ryder is fast becoming as irritating as Meg Ryan. Could she ever act? Why does she keep getting parts? Sure, everyone loved "Heathers," but has she done anything good since then? Life is so mysterious. I don't care for that quality.

I know, it's a little sugary, but I'm still convalescing and besides, it's supposed to be. This is my sell-out attempt, and I'm counting on it to make me as rich as Anne Geddes.

Then I can pay someone else can do the goddamn gardening. It's hot out there.


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