Patsy Porco

A Deadly Candleholder

In Christianity, Humor on February 3, 2018 at 3:29 pm

When I was growing up, my parents had a terrifying candleholder made out of cement. There were seven gnarled, gargoyley faces on it, each one representing a deadly (or cardinal) sin. The horrifying faces didn’t seem to personify anything in particular except evil, which, looking back, was probably the point.

Back then I couldn’t name the seven deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth) and didn’t think about them except when I had to dust that awful thing.

In our house of seven children, our parents stressed the gluttony and sloth sins, probably because they served their purposes when they were telling us to stop eating everything in sight, or to get off the couch and go outside and do something. I think I heard pride, greed, and envy mentioned a time or two, as well. Lust and wrath didn’t come up, as far I remember, probably because of how long it would take to explain those sins, which would delay getting us out of the house.

I was thinking about that candleholder today because I chose to sleep in late instead of getting up and renting a car. Our family car was in an accident on Tuesday, and the rental car place that our insurance company told us to use closes at noon on Saturday and isn’t open at all on Sunday. Getting up early wasn’t something I was willing to consider, it being a Saturday. Now I won’t have a car until Monday at the earliest. My son has a car I can use when he’s home, but, naturally, when I’ll need a car tomorrow to get to church, he’ll be at work.

The family car will be out of the auto body shop in about two weeks, so I’m going to have to rent a car at some point, preferably before my husband returns from the trip he’s on. He will not be able to comprehend why I didn’t rent a car right after the accident. But, that’s him. He does things when they need to be done. I take a nap.

Anyway, when I got up and realized it was 12:30 p.m. and I wasn’t going to have a car all weekend, I thought of that cement monstrosity. By sleeping in, I had probably committed several deadly sins. The sloth face was the most prominent in my mind. Not that I actually know which face was the sloth face.

I called my mother to ask her how she and my father could tell which face went with which sin. She said that the candleholder probably didn’t depict the seven deadly sins. She added that my father and she most likely told us that to scare us.

Now that nothing is as it seems, I’m fine with not having a car until Monday. If anyone asks why I wasn’t at Mass, I’ll blame my absence on lust or wrath. That should stop the questions.


I think this was it. In its online description (link attached to photo), it is called the Seven Deadly Sins (are you still messing with me, Mom?) and it’s made of chalkware (which, as a child, looked like cement to me). It’s called a pipe rack. In other online postings, however, it’s listed as a candleholder and/or pipe rack.



Hold Onto Your Pants

In fashion, Humor on January 27, 2018 at 2:43 am

I understand pack rats. Not hoarders, though. Hoarders, from what I understand, don’t clean and never throw anything out. Their piles of trash reach their ceilings and spill out their windows. Pack rats, however, are people who don’t throw their belongings out for fear they’ll need them someday. Or that’s my definition. I make stuff up to suit my purposes.

Anyway, it’s the fashion nowadays to talk about purging your home of everything that doesn’t “bring you joy.” What a crock. Toilet paper doesn’t bring me joy but I can’t throw it all out. They don’t print Sears catalogs anymore.

Before the woman who wrote about joyful decluttering became popular, though, fashion magazines had always been encouraging people to get rid of clothes that hadn’t been worn for more than a year.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. Let’s say you haven’t worn your favorite (or only) evening gown for over a year because you didn’t have any balls, or Italian weddings, to attend. According to the fashion advisors, you should donate it, pronto. However, you just know that you will have barely closed your car door after dropping off the gown when an invitation will arrive to a black-tie event, or a costume party. What do you do then? Go to the charity shop and buy it back?

And are they also suggesting that men should get rid of their tuxedos if they haven’t been worn in 366 days? That’s crazy talk, as my sister would say. Fashion experts need to be held accountable for their clever advice. If they make me throw out an expensive item that I will need in two years, then they should replace it.

“Dear [insert fashion magazine name] , I took your advice and threw out my husband’s wetsuit. Now he needs it. Please send me one in size XL, and include the flipper-thingies in size 11. Many thanks.”

Also, other items that have been shoved to the back of the closet might be unfashionable now, but fashion cycles are speeding up and they could be back in style in two years, or a year and a half. Then you’ll curse yourself, and that idiot fashion writer, for getting rid of them.

Here’s a perfect example: I wore men’s Levi’s for decades. Even after I succumbed to pressure from those-more-fashionable-than-I to buy women’s jeans, I kept the old Levi’s to wear when I worked in the garden or painted. Just last year, I decided to get rid of them since I had discovered that my husband’s old sweatpants were more comfortable to work in and, thus, I would have no need for these jeans since I couldn’t wear them out in public.

Naturally, I just found these Helmut Lang jeans being sold online for $275. These are Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 1.38.09 AMexpensive because of the name, but it’s only a matter of time before Levi’s knocks them off and sells them for $100. Summinabeech*, as my husband says.

The moral here is that we should stop taking advice from inexperienced people who are younger than our clothes, hold onto everything, and let our heirs decide how joyful our stuff is.


* Translation: SOB


The Mystery of Mothers Who Home-School

In home-schooling, Humor on January 15, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I don’t understand why any woman would voluntarily home-school her children. Please don’t say that men home-school their children, too. They don’t.

Why would a mother decide to forgo six or more hours of having her kids out of the house? That still leaves about 18 hours to have them in the house, so it’s not as though they’ll forget what she looks like.

I was watching Love It or List It on HGTV and there was a couple who needed to either enlarge their home or find a new one for them and their seven children, who were home-schooled by the wife. Their seven children. What is wrong with that mother that she doesn’t want them to go away for at least part of the day? I was the eldest of seven children and my mother was happy to see us go to school. She was also mostly happy to see us come home, but I suspect that was because we had left for a worthwhile stretch of time.

Putting aside a mother’s suspicious need to be surrounded by her children at all times, what qualifies any mother to teach seven children all at once? At some point, their lessons are going to be difficult, if not impossible, for her to teach. What then? Does she say, “I never saw the need for geometry, anyway. You only really need to know the basic shapes”?

I’m a smart person, according to all of the Facebook quizzes I’ve taken. Not only can I read a sentence backwards but, according to the quiz I took last night, I have many of the indicators of high intelligence: I’m tall, I’m the eldest child, I’m a night owl, and I enjoy alcohol. But I would never attempt to home-school one child, let alone a passel of them.

I also think kids need to socialize with people their own age so they learn how to interact in society. And, if the older kids don’t get opportunities to make their younger siblings jealous, by doing things the young ones can’t do, then what is the point of being an older kid? And what is the point of being a middle child if you aren’t ignored, or the baby if you aren’t indulged? Instead, they all share the same space, day after day, lumped together as one student entity and treated identically by their no-doubt harried mother/teacher.

Speaking of the mother: How does she work, either in the house or out of the house, if she’s always monitoring her kids’ lessons? She mustn’t get anything else done. And how does she maintain her sanity with everyone around all of the time?

There’s only one answer: These home-schooling mothers are all tall firstborns who stay up all night and drink.

teacher in class




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