Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Three Rotting Bananas

In baking, Humor on August 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

I don’t like to cook. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it –– or attain a trance-like state while I chop, slice, and dice, like a friend of mine does.

“Chopping vegetables is so relaxing,” she told me a few years ago. To this day I don’t know if she was being serious, or lying to see my reaction. I just told her she was nuts.

Chopping onions burns my eyes. When I peel carrots, I always wind up peeling the skin off my index finger. Grating cheese always involves grating my fingernail along with the cheese, and then sifting through the pile of cheese to find the nail shavings. I now polish my nails bright colors so they’re easy to spot.

Most of all, I dread having to locate the necessary spices, because when I open the above-my-head spice cabinet, an avalanche of spice bottles roll out and fall into the sink, scaring both me and the dog.

By the time I manage to get whatever I’m making onto the stove or into the oven, the counters are littered with peelings, eggshells, onion skins, meat wrappers, and dirty pots, pans, bowls, and measuring cups. And the dog is underfoot, licking up whatever hit the floor.

As much as I dislike cooking, I thought I liked baking. Tonight’s attempt at making banana bread made me realize that I was thinking of someone else, maybe one of those cake experts on the Cooking Channel.

It all started with three bananas that were so ripe that they were going to liquefy if I didn’t do something with them fast. For as long as I’ve been alive, whenever someone complains that his or her bananas are brown, another person never fails to say in a perky voice, “Make banana bread!”

Up until today, I’ve always thrown out brown bananas (and steered clear of people who make upbeat pronouncements), because baking with putrid fruit never seemed honest. But, tonight, I decided to reconsider the ethical question of disguising rotten fruit as a loaf cake.

I looked up banana bread recipes and they all called for bananas that were well past the eating stage. Some of the recipes even gave instructions for transforming  perfectly nice bananas into sludge. All of the recipes demanded that the bananas be very brown, very soft, and very aromatic.

So, I made banana bread. The process was just as annoying as cooking, and easily as messy. Flour-drenched counters, a sugar-coated Golden Retriever, sticky bowls, and caramelized beaters awaited me once I slid the pan into the oven. It took me three hours to make one loaf pan of banana bread, not including the baking time. I blame the butter.

Who knew it took hours to bring butter down to room temperature? The recipe said to soften it naturally and not expedite the process with the microwave or hot water. Don’t you think that should have been mentioned right under the title, in all capital letters? But no, the author waited until I had mashed the bananas with sour cream and vanilla, mixed the dry ingredients, and tripped over the dog before mentioning that room-temperature butter had to be beaten with sugar.

Oh well. It’s done now. I have no idea if it’s any good. Nor will I ever know. I hate banana bread. I’ll probably freeze it, and one day when I can’t identify what it is, I’ll toss it in the trash.

Next time, I’m throwing out the brown bananas.

banana bread

 

 

 

Plant Sex

In Humor, Sex on August 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Sex confuses me. Not human sex. My husband and I have a son, so we figured out the basics on that.

Not animal sex, either … except for those species that reproduce without a mate, through parthenogenesis, also known as virgin birth. That’s just crazy.

Plant sex, however, is beyond my understanding, even though I took a botany course in college. What I mainly remember from that class is getting accused of smoking pot with other students during our break. We were smoking a plant, but it was the tobacco plant, not the marijuana plant. (This was in the 1980s when smoking was allowed in the hallways. Ashtrays were outside of every classroom.  Oh, the good old days, when everyone wasn’t so uptight.)

I also recall learning that there are female and male plants. There are also some plants that have both male and female flowers. Then there are plants with perfect, or bisexual, flowers (perfect = bisexual? There’s food for thought), containing both male and female organs. Bees, insects, birds, bats, or the wind take pollen from the male and deposit it in the female. Regardless of what kind of flowers a plant has, in order for a vegetable (called fruit) to grow from the flower, plant sex must occur.

I have a friend whose asparagus plants weren’t producing vegetables. She researched the subject and discovered that the male plants and female plants weren’t getting together. She then instructed her husband to take a Q-Tip and rub it inside all of the plants’ flowers. His hand-pollination worked. She got asparagus. The irony is that she couldn’t pick the vegetables that her husband helped create because you have to let those plants mature for a few years before harvesting them. The bottom line was that they bought their asparagus that year.

I once heard a priest tell us that his mother always wanted peony bushes along both sides of her front walkway. His father dutifully planted peonies. While the plants flourished, no flowers appeared. His mother figured out that the males and females weren’t mixing it up, so his father dug up every other plant on each side of the walk and moved them each to the opposite side. The next year, there were flowers. (I think the lack of flowers had to do with how they were planted, but I kept mum when I saw him.)

This year, I’m faced with a similar situation with my eggplant plant. It has lovely purple flowers, but no fruit (vegetable, actually). I looked up eggplants and found that they have perfect (bisexual) flowers, containing both male and female organs. Even though they have all they need to produce fruit, there’s still a chance that they could use a little help. (Really? You just know that the male part won’t put down the remote for even one second.) Therefore, humans need to use a fine brush, a Q-Tip, or his/her breath to get things stirring … but sex is most fruitful between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Occasionally, afternoon nookie works, too.

So, if I want to grow eggplants, I’m going to have to get up early and assist in eggplant sex. Apparently, even bisexuals don’t have sex all the time.

eggplant 1

Ode to July

In Humor, Summer on July 20, 2017 at 11:32 pm

 

sunflowers

 

 

fireworksI wait all year for you to show

And when you do, my heart’s aglow

I wear few clothes, but just enough

To hide the cellulite and stuff.

 

 

hotdogs

 

Your days are long and hot and funbeach

The water’s warm from all the sun

We swim, we picnic, we yell at raccoons

Who knock over our trashcans under the moon.

 

raccoon

 

Rudy and Otto 4

Every day in July is a gift from aboveflip flops

There’s so much to do and so much to love

Swimming, sunbathing, water sports

Baseball, hotdogs, flip-flops, shorts.

 

 

yankees

 

Growing a garden, eating outsidesunset

Cutting fresh flowers, avoiding riptides

Biking, ice cream, watching the sunset

Kids, pets, adults … all soaking wet.

 

 

watermelon

 

ice-cream-cone-1274894_960_720As long as it is, with its 31 days

It still goes by fast, in a sun-drenched haze

So, don’t bitch to me about the heat

Or I’ll kick you with my sunburned feet.

 

 

feet

 

All photos were free/royalty-free from Pixabay.

Dog Justice

In dogs, Humor, pets on July 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

If you have a dog (or cat or bird or reptile) or know someone who does, chances are one of you is going to ask a friend or relative to pet-sit while you go away for a few days. It’s a summertime ritual. It’s hard to say no to a friend or relative. It’s damn near impossible when you have a pet of your own. The first thing you think is, “Great! Now I know who to ask when I need a pet-sitter.”

That was our selfish thought last night when we agreed to watch our nephew’s Pit Bull puppy for a few days (after thinking that we wanted to help him out, of course). Otto arrived this afternoon. He is such a sweet dog. I got my lifetime’s allotment of puppy kisses within an hour of meeting him. It’s such a shame that some of these dogs are trained to be vicious. They’re very sweet and affectionate by nature.

Rudy & Otto 3Anyway, Otto and our huge Golden Retriever, Rudy, went crazy when they met each other. At first we thought they were trying to kill each other, but no. They were just over-excited and overjoyed. Once we calmed them down, they followed each other around for hours. When my nephew left, Otto had a moment of sadness. He ran to the window and watched my nephew go. Then he forgot why he was sad and went to find Rudy.

Otto and Rudy explored the whole house and the backyard. They got in Rudy’s pool together. They chased each other around and wrestled. They had treats together. They became buddies.

Then, at some point, Rudy realized that Otto wasn’t leaving. He had had enough of sharing me with another dog. So, Rudy decided to complain at the top of his lungs for hours on end. The barking became unbearable. Our yelling at him to stop barking probably became unbearable to our neighbors. We tried separating them, but they kept crashing through doors to reach each other. Then Rudy would start complaining again.

Otto got the idea that Rudy wanted him gone, so he started whimpering. Then he changed his tactic and decided to hump Rudy when Rudy was lying down. Rudy let out a rebel yell and we had to hold him back so he wouldn’t flatten Otto. Both dogs have been neutered, so the failed attempt at humping was Otto trying to show Rudy who was boss. Unfortunately for Otto, it isn’t him.

Dinnertime rolled around. Both dogs had their own food in their own bowls. Both dogs decided to eat each other’s dinner. Rudy ordinarily refuses to eat any dog food other than his brand. Today, however, Otto’s brand of kibble was the one thing in the entire world that he wanted with all of his heart.

After they ate, they ran out back and jumped in Rudy’s pool. Then they ran inside, rudy and otto 1dripping wet. Then they did it again. And again. The floors became pools themselves. The dogs skidded across the wooden planks as they flew from room to room.

My nephew had told us that Otto needed to be walked three times a day. Rudy loves walks but we have a fenced-in yard, so they’re not absolutely necessary. And Rudy never gets more than one walk a day. When it was time for Otto’s afternoon walk, I was the only person home, and there was no way that I was going to walk them both together. So, I took Otto out by himself. The look of betrayal on Rudy’s face was heartbreaking. When we got back, Rudy decided to make Otto pay. He followed Otto around, barking at him to go home.

I kept telling Rudy to be nice to Otto because Otto missed his daddy. Rudy barked at me and I knew exactly what he was saying, “Well, get him the hell out of here and give him back to his daddy.”

It’s going to be a long weekend. But at least we have a relative who owes us a pet-sitting.

 

 

All that Glitters …

In Humor on June 28, 2017 at 4:48 pm

My last post about body paint led several people to alert me to new bedazzling trends that are popular at summer festivals and on Instagram. If the crude terms for body parts offend you, please don’t glitter-bomb the messenger.

Click on the photos for the original articles.

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Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 4.35.41 PM

I personally wouldn’t apply decals and sparkly paint to my chest, but I can see the usefulness of applying glitter to your bottom; it would cover a multitude of imperfections.

A similar effect could be obtained by sitting in the sand after being in the water. Just don’t brush it off like you usually do. When you eventually shower, the sand will wash off. The same can’t be said for glitter.

Existential Gardening and Body Paint

In gardening, Humor on June 26, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I spent the last four days gardening. Gardening doesn’t involve a lot of mental work so I had lots of time to think as I dug holes, stuck plants into the ground, plucked weeds, and battled termites that were living in a bag of mulch.

One of the things I contemplated was: Who decides what’s attractive and not attractive, desirable or undesirable? Why are weeds things to be destroyed when there are some flowers, which we pay money for and plant in our gardens, that aren’t as pretty as some flowering weeds?

This subject has crossed my mind many times. I’ve often wondered why hamsters and gerbils are kept as pets, but rats and mice are not welcome in our homes.

I once had a really intelligent boyfriend but, according to society (my best friend at the time), he wasn’t attractive. I waffled on whether or not I was higher-minded than society and could like him just for his brains. It turns out it didn’t matter, because he dumped me.

Today, after a few hours of weeding, I called my mother. She told me that my brother had gone to Comfest 2017, a community festival in Columbus, Ohio. My mother said that she never would have gone because women were encouraged to go topless.

“Do women have to go topless?” I asked.

“No, of course not,” she said. “But, women are welcome there without shirts.”

“Where did you hear this?” I asked.

“In the newspaper,” she said. “The article didn’t show the topless women, but it did show pictures of women who went wearing only body paint.”

Just hearing the words “body paint” made my brain groan. That was another conundrum I’ve pondered over the years.

“But, if you’re wearing body paint, are you really naked?” I asked.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“I’ve seen some really intricate body painting that covers people really well. I’ve often wondered if people whose bodies were covered in paint were really naked.”

“Of course they’re naked!” she replied.

“Why?” I asked. “They’re more covered up than some people are who are wearing clothes.”

“This is ridiculous,” my mother said. “Body paint is not clothing.”

“But if it provides the same coverage as clothes, then ––”

“Let’s talk about something else,” my mother suggested.

“Okay,” I said. “But before we do, I have just one more question about the women in body paint.”

“I have to go now,” my mother said in an annoyed tone. “I’ll talk to you later.” Then she hung up.

Great. Dumped again.

I went back to gardening, but this time I sang along to the radio as I worked. My singing didn’t seem to annoy the neighbors as much as my abstract thinking annoyed my mother.

I think.body paint

 

Addendum:

My husband just alerted me to a new shirt-replacement trend that’s all the rage at popular festivals. I will not be discussing this with my mother, however.

Peanuts and Concrete

In Humor on June 23, 2017 at 6:07 pm

whiskey barrelOne of the whiskey barrels on our deck had rotted and was falling apart. No, there wasn’t whiskey spilling out all over the deck. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be complaining, which is what I’m about to be doing.

What was spilling out between the rotten wooden planks was dirt … and Styrofoam peanuts. Hundreds, if not thousands of Styrofoam peanuts. Maybe millions. At least it seemed like millions to me while I separated the peanuts from the dirt they were embedded in.

I went inside the house for a break, and to malign the former owners of our home.

“You know those whiskey barrels on the deck?” I asked my husband.

“You mean the half-barrels?” he responded.

“Yes, whatever,” I said. “You know what I’m talking about.”

“You’re the one who’s always correcting people about the proper use of words and grammar,” he said.

I sighed. “You’re right. Okay, yes, the half-barrels.”

“What about them?”

“Well,” I said, “The one closest to the grill was falling apart, so I took out the slats and removed the metal rings around the barrel. Guess what was inside?”

“Styrofoam peanuts,” he said.

“How did you know that?” I asked, flabbergasted.

He looked at me in the way that signifies he’s going to leave the room and end the conversation. I grabbed his arm to make him stay.

“Let go of my arm!” he said.

“Not until you answer me,” I said.

“I saw some peanuts lying around the half-whiskey barrel.”

“Didn’t you wonder where they came from” I asked, as I released his arm.

“No.”

I breathed deeply. “Well, the former owners of our house filled the bottom of the barrel — do not correct me and say half-barrel or I’ll kill you — with those damn peanuts instead of dirt or rocks. Then they threw in a bunch of wood to take up even more space before they added dirt. Now we’ve got mounds of dirt, peanuts, and wood on the deck that I have to clean up.”

“Nobody told you to take it apart.”

“It was an eyesore!” I kind of yelled.

“Are you asking for help?” my husband asked.

“No, I’m not,” I said. “I’m just letting off steam. Can you even believe that they took that shortcut, without thinking of the mess they were leaving us?”

“They probably weren’t thinking of future owners of their house when they did it,” he said. “Those half-barrels have been here for the 11 years we’ve lived here and probably for many years before then.”

“Don’t take up for those inconsiderate jerks,” I said. “We never would have done such a thing.”

“Sure we would have,” he said. “In fact, we did.”

“When?” I spluttered.

“When the former owners of our last house left piles of broken concrete next to the garage and, right after we moved in, you had me dig a giant hole in the backyard and bury the concrete.”

“That was different,” I said.

“How, exactly?”

“We had to bury it. The dump wouldn’t accept it and Norwalk forbids putting building materials in the trash.”

“But we still left a hole filled with concrete for the new owners. If they ever decide to plant something in that exact spot, they’re going to be very angry,” he said.

I thought about that for a minute.

“I’m going back outside,” I said. “The next time I want to complain, I’m going to tell someone else.”

“Oh, please don’t,” he said.

He didn’t sound very sincere.

peanuts

Addendum: After this was published, my friend, Christine, an environmentalist and gardener extraordinaire, posted an explanation on my Facebook wall (where this story also appeared) for the use of peanuts and wood in planters. It turns out that the former owners of our house weren’t inconsiderate jerks after all. Only we were.

Christine’s Comments: Uses for Foam Packing Peanuts: Check out #10: “Pour peanuts into a large pot and add soil to boost drainage and make it easier to move.”

Use of Wood: It’s permaculture practice to bury old pieces of wood because they absorb water and, as they compost, they release lots of good stuff into the soil. I don’t do the peanuts but I do bury lots of wood and it works wonderfully. I don’t have to water as often. When I read your story, permaculture was the first thing I thought of. That and the fact that I’ve found several pits of buried concrete in the yard usually just where I want to plant a tree!

Grow a Backbone

In Humor on June 18, 2017 at 2:25 am

With all of the innovations in the plastic surgery arena, you’d think someone would have invented a spine extender.

I know spine surgery is tricky, but if surgeons can cut into your brain with no ill effects, why can’t plastic surgeons add a piece of PVC pipe to your spine for added height, or even higher up for a swanlike neck? Nowadays, every part of the human body can be enlarged, lifted, smoothed, or improved upon, so what’s holding up advances in the height department?

Because cosmetic surgery doesn’t qualify for reimbursement under my health insurance, I’ve had to forgo lifts of my face, neck, knees, and glutes, but this operation might possibly be considered necessary for one’s health.

I recently read that a 5’9″ male is considered to be overweight at 202 pounds, but obese at 203 pounds. One pound changes his status from needing to lose a little weight to needing gastric bypass surgery. If that same man’s height were increased by one or two inches, he wouldn’t be close to being obese. He might not even be all that much overweight.

A rule of thumb for weight is that a man gets to weigh six pounds for each inch he is over five feet, plus 100 pounds. A woman gets five pounds for each inch over five feet, plus 100 pounds.

Up until middle age, I was 5’7-1/2″ inches tall. That meant that my ideal weight was 137.5 pounds, which was right on the nose. I weighed 138 pounds for years and looked fine to me. I could even get up to 144 pounds before I began to worry or take action. Then middle age hit me on the head, squishing me down to 5’6″ almost overnight. My new height changed my ideal weight to 130 pounds. I went from fairly slim and tall to chunky and medium height. I know for a fact that gravity hit me with a hammer from above, because my rib cage collapsed onto itself and the weight that had been evenly distributed there came crashing down and settled around my middle, like a little kid’s swim bubble. swim ring

After months of denying the existence of my new spare tire, I eventually had to face the truth the day I was confronted with a three-way mirror in a store’s dressing room. After several stunned moments of staring at my reflection, I reached up to get a dress that I had hung on a high hook. That’s when I discovered that when I stretched, the weight disappeared. It was gone, just like that. But, the catch was that if I wanted the extra weight to disappear permanently, I’d have to walk around with my arms extended to the heavens for the rest of my life, or lose the weight and exercise.

Then one day I got an email from a company that offered to extend a body part that I wasn’t born with. That was my Eureka moment. If they could extend that, why couldn’t they extend my spine, and my neck, while they were at it?

Unfortunately, I’m a big-picture person and don’t bother with details anymore. (I gave that up in my forties.) So, if anyone wants to take this idea and run with it, knock yourself out. All I ask is that I get free spine and neck extensions once the process is perfected. Or, that you figure out how to get the procedures approved under my health insurance.

 

You Say Weeds, I Say Meadow

In Humor on April 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

On our street of manicured lawns, where people don’t just mow them but also edge them, our lawn stands out like a red-headed stepchild.

Let’s recall that it was winter two days ago. Or it felt like winter. It was rainy, windy, and cold. And there was snow on the ground until fairly recently. Today, it’s warm and sunny. And the grass grew four inches in the twenty seconds after the snow melt.

Today and yesterday, the lawn mowing brigade has been out from sunup to sunset, grooming and manicuring their weedless front lawns. Why all of the dandelions took root on our front lawn is mysterious to me, and alarming. In comparison to all of the dark, lush, green lawns from the top of our street to the bottom, ours looks like it was shipped in from the wrong side of the tracks.

We had a mowing guy until this year, but now that we’ve decided to maintain the grass ourselves, the future of our lawn looks uncertain. Whether we’ll actually cut it regularly— without yelling, nagging, crying (me), barking (our dog, and occasionally me), and threatening—is still up in the air. It’s early days.

I’ve often thought that a meadow in front of our house, filled with tall grass and wildflowers, and even dandelions, would be lovely.

I have a feeling that our neighbors would not agree. Suburbia’s one rule is conformity. And a meadow on our front lawn would make all of their lawns look boring. Or make us look lazy, or possibly insane.

Either way, I’d better go dust off the lawn mower.

Flash Judgments

In Humor, politics on March 5, 2017 at 12:30 am

This now-famous picture jogged a memory, which eventually led me to make an unsubstantiated and uncharitable judgment of the woman in the forefront, Kellyanne Conway. This photo has unleashed the judge in all of us. Just check Twitter, which is awash in criticism of Kellyanne’s despoiling of our national couch.

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-2-37-13-pm

My initial reaction to this photo was, “Why doesn’t she have a hair stylist?” I didn’t really notice that she had made herself uncomfortably comfortable in the Oval Office.

Once the photo hit the fan, though, the mainstream media, as well as the general public on Twitter and Facebook, were up in arms over her lack of respect for the president … and his sofa. This was surprising to me considering that we live in a very relaxed society where pretty much anything goes, and respect for a person or his or her office is usually offered posthumously, if at all. In fact, President Trump is the recipient of far more public disrespect than respect but, for some reason, his couch is considered off-limits.

Anyway, I began to see this photo on Facebook along with my friends’ and their friends’ comments. One that struck me was: “Trump is banging her.” That hadn’t occurred to me until that moment, but I immediately decided it was true. “She was marking her territory by kneeling on that couch,” I thought. “Regular employees would never take such liberties.”

I soon regretted my conclusion, but here is my justification for reaching it: Years ago, I was hired to edit a book that would be published by the company that hired me. The author, Joe, was probably brilliant, but his tiresome personality overshadowed his talents. He was the poster boy for narcissism. He had no time for anyone’s opinion but his own. If you disagreed with him, or even had the temerity to talk when he wanted to speak, he would shout your name over and over until you stopped talking. Then he’d speak for an eternity on whatever the subject was. Without going into too much detail, for fear of a lawsuit, I will say that he was difficult to work for. Fortunately, I was able to avoid seeing him too much. Generally, he hand-wrote his book all night long, and the next day I would pick up the pages, take them home, type them up, and then edit the pages.

I did have to come into the office occasionally, though, on the days that Joe conducted interviews with people in his profession. On an interview day, I would take an old-fashioned cassette recorder into the room and tape the interview. After the interview, I would transcribe the tape into a Question-and-Answer format and give the pages to Joe to approve, or improve upon. The interviews followed the same pattern: Joe would ask a question, the interviewee would answer, and then Joe would often decide that he had a better answer to his question. He would then answer his own question and tell me to say that the interviewee said it. If the interviewee objected, Joe would say, “That’s what you meant.” Every person who was interviewed left the room shaking his or her head.

On the day of the last interview, Joe and I were sitting in the conference room waiting for the woman he was interviewing to arrive. It was morning so he was having his usual breakfast of a Yoo-hoo and a family-sized bag of M&Ms. He also had a few large bags of chips on his desk. The woman to be interviewed arrived. Her name was Jennifer and she was tall and slim, with wavy blonde hair and green eyes. She was dressed in a conservative gray jacket and skirt, and black pumps.

The author introduced himself and she introduced herself to him and to me. Jennifer put her briefcase down on the floor beside her chair and the interview began. Joe began asking her questions and supplying her answers. She initially tried to correct Joe, but he shouted her name until she became quiet. Joe told me what her responses were to his questions. Finally, Jennifer’s patience snapped and she said, “That’s NOT what I said or what I meant.” Joe said that if she didn’t like how he was doing the interview, she could forget about being in his book. This seemed like bullying to me, but she agreed to let him answer for her with long, convoluted, hard-to-comprehend responses. This went on for awhile. I guess she got bored because she kicked off her shoes and put her feet on the office chair next to her. Bored or not, this struck me as odd. What was even odder was that she then reached across the table and stuck her hand into his bag of M&Ms. He told her to keep her hands off his candy but she just laughed and pulled out a large handful and ate them. Then she grabbed one of his bags of chips and opened them.

At this point, I felt like I had missed something. How had this buttoned-up professional woman who didn’t know Joe quickly become comfortable enough with him to kick off her shoes and help herself to his food? There was definitely a puzzle piece missing.

Joe decided to ignore Jennifer’s antics and went back to interviewing her and supplying her answers. This continued until Joe asked and began to answer a question that Jennifer must have really wanted to respond to in her own words, because she interrupted him mid-response. “I would never say that,” she said. “My answer to that question would be —”

“This is the right answer,” Joe interrupted, “and it’s what’s going in the book … if I decide to let you be in the book.”

Jennifer looked like she was going to explode with frustration. “I’m going to the bathroom,” Jennifer said. She put her shoes on and left the office. Joe then proceeded to go insane.

“How dare she leave the room? That is so insulting! I’m cutting her out of the book right now. By leaving the room she is not showing me the respect I deserve. I’ve had it with her!” he ranted and raved.

This was a freelance job for me, and while I was being well-paid, I had my limits. “You are a bully,” I said to him. “She has every right to leave to use the bathroom.” I told him.

Joe was startled. “I am not a bully! By leaving, she is being disrespectful to me!” he screamed.

“You left to use the bathroom earlier,” I said. “Why can’t she do the same thing?”

Joe sputtered. “Don’t take up for her! I’m the one paying you, and if you don’t like it here, then leave!”

“Fine,” I said, resignedly. Working with him had been exhausting, like working in an emotional minefield. I got up and went to my desk and started organizing my notes and cassette tapes for him. I showed him where everything was and I left.

As I was in the staircase, going downstairs to the exit, the door above me opened and a frantic Jennifer ran out. “Where are you going?” she asked.

“I quit because of the horrible way he treated you, me, and everyone else he works with.” I said.

“No, you can’t quit!” she said, panicked.

“I already did,” I said.

She looked stricken. “I can’t have him mad at me because you quit,” she said. “Please come back. Please,” she begged.

I was confused. What was going on? Why did she care so much if he was mad at her? She must really want to be in this book, I thought.

“I can’t go back. I already quit,” I said.

She reached out, grabbed my arm and started pulling me up the stairs. “Yes, you can. It’ll be fine. I’ll smooth it over.”

My mind reeled. Did I even want to go back, other than for the pay? And could I even go back, since I had told Joe off and then left?

By the time I had had these thoughts, I was back upstairs in the office. Jennifer urged me into the conference room. Despite her assurance to smooth things over, she stood outside the room. It was just me and Joe. He looked up from the papers he was reading. “Jennifer asked me not to quit,” I said.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s get back to work. Jennifer, who was listening outside the door, came back in.

“I think you owe us a pizza,” she said to Joe.

“Fine,” he said. “You order it.”

“Give me your credit card,” she said. He handed it over.

Later, looking back on this incident, I realized that they were having an affair. When she kicked off her shoes and dove into his candy bag (double entendre intended), she was marking her territory, i.e., letting me know that she was more than a stranger being interviewed. I don’t know why she wanted me to know. I was no threat; I shy away from insane people, and I take my marriage vows more seriously than she took hers. In fact, they were both married and, hence, their initial pretense of never having met. They weren’t very good at subterfuge, however, since everyone in the office suspected that they were more than acquaintances. Their dysfunctional relationship became even more apparent over the next few weeks, as Joe kicked her out of the book, put her back in, and then kicked her out again. The final version of the book had her in it, but by that time, I was finished with that job, and glad to be. I only discovered her presence in the book when I was sent a copy.

This all brings me back to the picture that launched a million tweets. When I considered the photo against my previous experience, I decided that Kellyanne was, by tucking her feet into the couch’s cushions, also marking her territory and disclosing, with body language, that she was very comfortable with President Trump.

The next day, however, when she was criticized in the press for putting her feet on the royal couch, she said that she was only trying to get a good angle for the photograph of so many people. Then I saw the other photographs and it made sense. She probably sat on that couch all day long and didn’t think twice about sitting on it in front of all of the president’s guests. And, since she was trying to fit them all into a frame on her camera, she had to find the best vantage point, even if it involved kneeling on the couch. She might have even been told to go over to the couch to take the picture. It does seem like the best place to take the picture from.

Once I saw the picture below, and all of the smiling people near her who appreciated her efforts and didn’t seem taken aback by her behavior, I was kind of abashed at my agreement with the Facebook commenter who sent my mind on a trip to the gutter.

I learned two valuable lessons, though: 1) A picture might be worth a thousand words, but those words aren’t always well-intentioned, or even based on facts; and 2) Get all of the facts before passing judgment, or at least all of the pictures.

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