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Category: Satire

Strictly snarky observations about everyday events.

Tolerance and Diversity Alive and Well at the Supermarket

Home or curbside delivery of groceries has a dark side to it. This service separates us from the one place where commonality unites us and tolerance and acceptance co-exist; the supermarket.

Our neighborhood supermarket is not a small bodega, but part of a large chain. A mini united nations, hijabs, turbans, and saris mix freely with saggers, soccer mom’s activewear, high fashion stilettos, business attire and retired folks sweats.

I’ve been tapped on the shoulder more than once by a shopper who speaks limited English wanting to know where an item is.

The other day, I asked a tall black man if he would grab the horseradish off the top shelf for me. He asked which heat level I wanted and when I replied, “extra hot”, His mom dressed in her African kaftan, clasped her hands to her chin and smiled her approval. I didn’t know if she smiled because she approved of my choice, or because we are both short.

I wandered over to the olive oil section and as I read the ingredients listed on my selection, this very handsome young man sidled over to me and said, “you might as well cook with lighter fluid.” Thoughts of who I could hook him up with raced around in my brain until he introduced his partner, another handsome young man. While giving me a brief rundown on a cooking class they were taking, I wondered, how did they know I was approachable. I am in that demographic group that if one believes pollsters, is intolerant of just about everything.

I concluded it must be the white hair, code for “grandma” everywhere, as babies from all ethnicities wave and smile at me from their mother’s shopping cart.

Not everyone is as tolerant of older people as babies are.

Often, portrayed as stodgy, not with it; comparable to the “use by date” yogurt taking up space in the fridge.  I observed an older couple as they pushed their shopping cart to the exit of the store. Walking side by side, the woman reached over and gave the man a little pinch on his hinny. So much for stodgy; I’m guessing putting their purchases away first when they arrived back home was not a priority.

I’ve seen every ethnicity, combination of diversity and age group at our supermarket interact without any hint of controversy or discord.

It occurred to me the reason why may be because the one thing I have never seen there is a big, red, ugly MAGA cap.

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Respecting Political Differences When Donald Trump Is the Difference

Does respecting political differences mean we should forgive Trump voters? I’m having a hard time with that point of view. Let me re-phrase that; I have a difficult time putting Trump and respect in the same sentence.

Two years of not mentioning the elephant in the room during family and social gatherings and I’m done.

Respecting political differences was easy prior to Trump.

But, if you voted for his full frontal, narcissistic attitude, it reveals aspects of your character I cannot admire and I’m having a difficult time getting past that.

Accepting him at face value, had his history and past behavior been buried, should have tipped off even the totally clueless that he is horribly flawed and unfit to lead anything.

When it comes to family members who voted for him, it is especially horrifying if it is an adult child. Conflicting and competing reactions race around in my head.

As a parent was I a failure? Did I somehow fail to convey the standard of common decency and humanity? Where were you during your high school civics class? Did you sleep during World History? (I would have known had you failed the course.)

On the other hand, I encouraged you to think for yourself and not follow the crowd; it was okay to be different, (BUT NOT THAT DIFFERENT.) How can I be horrified that you chose to do exactly that?

Other family members fall into varying categories. Siblings fall into the category of having received more of the crazy aunt/uncle’s DNA than I like to acknowledge. I sigh, “It could be worse,” and try not to think about it.

As for what in-laws think about me: well who is surprised? They always knew something was a bit “off” about me anyway; even worse I managed to corrupt one of their own.

What I think about their views: I’m not surprised; I always knew something was a bit off about them, except for the amazing one I married.

Respecting political differences is difficult to reconcile when the consequences of those differences will take decades of recovery.

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Group Texting Can Be Dangerous in the Hands of Novices

Group texting is the fastest way to piss off just about everyone. The odds are in favor of somebody getting hopping mad. The stench from broadcasting a comment intended for a lone recipient is insurmountable.

This has happened to me on more than one occasion. For instance, it’s 10:00 PM and I receive a text from my friend Sarah. She wants to know if I am attending Peggy’s lunch the following day.

I respond, “Hell no, the last time I was at Peggy’s house she served something that looked like dog food. In fact, dog food would have been an improvement, but I came up with a plausible whopper to escape the event.”

Immediately after I hit the “send” button, “recipients – Sarah and PEGGY  flashed briefly on the screen. There is no way to recover from that. Seconds later, I receive a group response from Peggy informing Sarah, she is serving chateaubriand for two.

I didn’t believe it was possible for me to make matters worse, but I managed to overachieve.  A dear friend sent a text message saying she was just fine after a somewhat delicate outpatient procedure. Believing she might need a bit of encouragement, I replied with a bawdy comment or two (okay, it was three.) Seconds later, my phone blew up with notifications from women I did not know; my friend’s prayer group.

It was a learning experience. I have never seen so many biblical references relative to my comments.

I checked the settings on my text message app. There is no way to block group text messages. I called my cell provider whose lame suggestion was to tell my friends not to send me group text messages.

I sent a group text message to all contacts. Again, a learning experience. I was not aware of the variety of lascivious emoji. My phone is silent, but email is overflowing. If I can just remember not to “reply to all.”

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How to Survive that Left Out Feeling When Your Workout Gear is Tacky

My workout gear, rescued from the Goodwill bag, wasn’t wonderful when I bought it at Wal-Mart. It’s a gym. I’m supposed to look gross, with bed head hair, no makeup, sweating and grunting .

Women look at me as if I don’t belong there and I am intimidated. I feel as though I am in the nightmare where you show up in public in your underwear and everyone laughs.

Most arrive at the gym sporting designer workout gear; perfectly coiffed with every hair lacquered in place. Freshly manicured nails highlight astonishing jewelry. They leisurely stroll to the weight machines, heads held aloft leaving a cloud of Shalimar in their wake.

Struggling to lift a 15 lb weight, no expression of exertion registers on their face. Closer inspection reveals they are unable to emote facially. They have been stretched six ways for Sunday. Behind the massive bouffant hairdo is enough leftover skin to cover my sofa.

Some are accompanied by a buff young trainer named “Nick” or “Alex”. You never see a big rawboned Olympian female trainer with these chicks. Presenting body images that most women cannot achieve without starvation, surgery, and liposuction reinforces unrealistic expectations. I think they should be banned from the gym.

If I owned designer attire, I would not wear it to the gym. A buff young trainer is not in my budget. I will never look like these women and I’m not sure I want to.

If you ask me, the gym is penance, not performance art. I’m gonna go have a big burger with fries and a Hefeweizen. If I’m lucky maybe I can find some work out gear that still fits.

Note: This was my first blog post, written February 2010. Shortly after, I found a gym where women wear old clothes, no makeup and, though none will admit it, go for a hamburger and fries afterward.

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Super Short Hairstyle

Judy Dench is the only woman of a certain age who can rock a super short hairstyle. I learned this the hard way after my stylist scalped me; a process not unlike dethatching grass.

The androgynous look does zip for mature women. Had I worn a white tee shirt, with a pack of Marlboro reds tucked in the sleeve I could have passed for a teamster trucker. I looked like Freddy Krueger’s deranged grandmother.

I live in Texas. Fall out from the previous legislative session and the “bathroom bill” had the potential to make it extremely hazardous to answer natures call with this hairstyle. To be on the safe side I carried my birth certificate to avoid being hassled in the restroom.

A quick look in the mirror confirmed wearing jeans was a nonstarter. A mad dash to the mall’s nearest cosmetic counter was in order. I was humbled by the cosmetic associate’s effort to smother laughter, while she rang up an impressive amount of dollars on my credit card.

The harsh light of my bathroom mirror confirmed I had been duped. The cosmetic improvements of red lipstick, pink eye shadow, and false eyelashes made me look like a drag queen reject. I was unable to duplicate the tricky turban wrap, and the huge loop earrings bounced off my shoulders.

Google is a lifesaver; they have an answer for everything. I discovered a delightful YouTube drag queen makeup tutorial, but my appearance failed to live up to those standards. I looked like an oversized garden gnome.

After a few days, cabin fever set in and I ventured out to run errands. The pharmacy tech suggested it might be time to check in with the doctor for overdue labs. I tried to ignore the check out person at the supermarket chewing her bottom lip as she sacked my groceries.

Worn out from futile attempts to deny the obvious, I returned the make-up with a middle finger salute to the cosmetic associate as I left. She gave me a nasty look, but it’s okay. The salespeople at the local sporting goods store loved it when I purchased their entire stock of wool beanies.

This has been a season of discovery for me. I discovered mature women should never ever attempt to wear wool beanies, if they don’t want to be directed to the Salvation Army shelter.

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Women and Deathbed Declarations

Women who make deathbed declarations of their failure to reach their potential have been in the news lately. Is this a last-ditch effort to vent, cast guilt on a spouse, or a warning to their daughters? Suppressing their goals/ambitions for those of their husband seems to be a common thread.

As mother’s birthday of January 15th neared, I reflected on her legacy and the parallel of these women and their stories. There was none. I am grateful.

No one could ever accuse mother of being subservient to anyone.

She was opinionated, over the top and quite vocal about not being “any man’s slave.” A study in illogicality; a housewife who elevated the domestic arts to an impossibly high standard and later a working mom.

Political correctness was never a problem for her, but her failure to adhere to it was a burden for me. Drama and chaos followed her like her Estee Lauder Youth Dew perfume.

Confronting her male supervisors at work about inequality came easily to her. Most of the time she won her issue, possibly in part because they wanted to escape.

This was during the fifties and I was in high school struggling through home economics, a required subject for girls. (Boys got to take woodwork which I would have preferred.) I hated the class; my home’s role model did not reflect the values of that time, i.e. making sure hubby was happy, blah, blah, blah. And, when it came to cooking, mother was a far superior cook to the textbook sawdust recipes we were supposed to re-create in class.

Much later, as life events unfolded, it became evident that home economics class propaganda missed the mark, but mother was spot on. Her opposition to submission instilled in me a resilience when I would need it most.

If Mother had deathbed declarations, she kept them to herself.

Some of her escapades, we laugh about, and others; we give her a “Bless her heart” pass.

Life for a woman during an era and in a region where feminism did not yet have a name had to be frustrating for someone like my mother. For those who believe the pink pussy hats are too much; well, you didn’t know my mother.

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Mansplaining; A Name for the Last Male Frontier of Marginalization

Mansplaining – the perfect name for obnoxious behavior. One delicious benefit of arriving at a certain age is to have a woman give a name to a practice that women put up with for years.

On the Lucy Show, when her adventures backfired, Ricky huffed and growled, “Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.” I waited for Lucy to ‘splain to Ricky where to stuff it, but she never did.

Mansplaining rachets up the ‘splaining to give the male a platform to pontificate to the female on unsolicited subjects.

I hoped men might progress and outgrow this practice, but they did not. Women united, and named it and devised a clever name to call it out.

In the land before time, if a man called you “little lady”, you knew an unwarranted homily, was forthcoming; like when the builder who was building our new home tried to put sub-grade shelving in all the closets.

The contractor explained the pine rosin and knot holes would not be discernable once the closets were filled. Juggling three kids who did not want to go to a building site, may have caused me to be a bit impatient. I went ballistic, the oldest child covered the youngest child’s ears as they scurried to the safety of our car. The good news was the contractor never called me “little lady” again and our closet shelves were rosin and knot free.

This was not my first encounter with mansplaining. Years prior, a male interviewer mansplained that I would want a third child, and pregnancy would create a major inconvenience for this position.

Then there was the time I went to the HR director to ask for help with a delicate matter.

My boss’s body odor was so horrible he could have distilled it and marketed it as bear repellent. A few minutes spent in his office drove the aroma into my nostrils where it lodged itself for the remainder of the day. I couldn’t say anything to him, but I thought perhaps another man might could. Nope, nuh uh, he mansplained in four words, “He is an executive.”

I am waiting for eldersplain to become a word. Eldersplain is the practice of younger folks assuming the mature set require unsolicited instruction ranging from the use of electronic devices or how to “google it.”

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Mary Margaret’s Thoughts About Perfume Commercials

The perfume commercials on television are incomprehensible. If there is a subliminal message I am supposed to receive, then I’m  disadvantaged. Frankly, I believe the vignettes depicted on the perfume commercials stink smell.

 I’ve been confused ever since the old Calvin Klein “Eternity” commercial appeared featuring a couple canoodling on the beach.

Rolling around in all that grit doesn’t make sense to me; that’s what motels are for. I certainly don’t think perfume is a requirement for romance in that setting.

I never grasped the concept behind the Chanel commercial where Coco rides off on a motorcycle after a night of  debauchery with some hunky guy. The perfume did what it was supposed to do, so why the hasty morning-after departure? If a quickie one-night stand was all she wanted, she could have saved a bundle on perfume. Walgreens has a ton of cheap stuff.

Then there is the commercial where the woman climbs up a silk rope, dressed to kill and ends up on a rooftop. WTF My goodness, no woman in her right mind would go rope climbing dressed like that and worse yet end up on a roof top. I take the elevator if it’s just one level up or down. If I had a dress like that, I’d put it on eBay and sell it.

The commercial for Dolce features a beautiful woman floating out of a castle. A man picking fruit in an orchard sends her a flower. Long story short, bedazzled by the gesture she sends him a come-hither signal. I will state the obvious; most women expect a higher return on their fragrance dollar. Smart money says she should have stayed in the castle.

 To add to my confusion, many of these fragrances are available at Walmart. There is a ton of internet photos of people of Walmart, but I have yet to see one of them in a Dolce commercial.

Note: Originally published in 2014. Perfume commercials continue to make no sense whatsoever. Mary Margaret believes they are 
demeaning to women.
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These Huddled Masses are Tired and Poor after Navigating Electricity Providers

“Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, “reads the inscription at the statue of liberty.

This motto could serve as the mission statement for electricity providers as well. 
We satisfy all qualifications; tired of being taken advantage of, poor from paying the monthly electricity fee and huddled trying to stay warm.

I’m tempted to call my doctor for a prescription for Xanax before I renew our annual electricity provider contract. I know I am going to flail and swear over the deceptive and sneaky, miniscule small print caveats.

We can choose our service providers, but that is small comfort when the choice is between stick-it-to-me or hello-sucker.

Now I know how a gambler feels when he/she is behind on payments to their bookie. Electricity providers are right up there with organized crime bosses. The only difference is State government sanctions the electricity  provider.

Armed with a spreadsheet, green highlighter and a realm of paper in the printer, and a giant bag of potato chips, I begin the exercise.

One might think it is simple to figure the price per kilowatt hour and make a decision. Not true, and this is where the games begin.

At first glance the rates don’t look too bad, the more kilowatts you use, the lower the rate. But wait! We don’t use that many. You’d think that would be a plus, right? Remember the scene in crime movies where the old guy who owns the candy store has to pay more and more for”protection” from the mob? Well, buying electricity is just like that.

By the time I wade through the electricity facts label my eyes feel like my feet when I postpone a pedicure. Now comes the fun part,finding out where they hide the base charge, user credit charge, and energy charge.

This discovery leads to acceptance; we are screwed six ways to Sunday. I call the provider whose website has the most colors and select that plan.

At the end of a laborious venture, I call the liquor store rather than the pharmacy. The liquor store has home delivery; the pharmacy does not.

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Pack Rat or Collector?

What is the difference between being a pack rat or a collector?

In spite of having recently purchased Roku, we are keeping our VCR and an ancient tv set that has its own VCR. One of us firmly believes we may need it one day.

During a recent reorganization, I unearthed a box with spare buttons. Most of them belonged to garments long ago consigned to Goodwill.

What would happen if I threw away the whole shebang?

I’m telling you, within seconds of the buttons becoming fodder for the recycle bin, my beloved would inquire if there were a spare button for the old jacket he swore he burned. That jacket is so ugly, our dumpster diver wouldn’t retrieve it.  A missing button on that jacket is a minor flaw.

He promises to organize and discard, but the man has serious issues when it comes to eliminating anything. There is no twelve-step program for this kind of retention obsession. At the supermarket, he manages to secure extra twist ties. He has managed to escape arrest, thus far for his petty crime. They are taking over the kitchen junk drawer. We could bungee off the roof with twist tie straps.

He has a lifelong love affair with paper. There is a file on his desk for every conceivable topic. He files most of the stuff under “loose ends” and “follow up.”

He clips newspaper items and prints online articles, but the information disappears. It refuses to cooperate and retreats mysteriously into a file known only to itself. A scanner and back up hard drive will never replace the manila file folders he clutches to his bosom.

He undeniably has a Tote issue. After spring cleaning, we agreed that the plastic Totes we have hauled all over the universe would go to new homes or the recycle bin.

That lasted two weeks. After the last family member’s relocation, he put out an APB calling for the return of all missing Totes, plus their lids. I have run out of places to store the totes. No one actually believes we have a beige, plastic sectional sofa.

I, on the other hand, methodically whittled down my assortment of vases and kept only the fifty that are unique. Organized by size, shape, and color, stored out of sight in their own armoire. I call my stuff collectibles; his treasures defy definition.

He prefers the term “collector,” refusing to accept the more accurate term pack rat. Currently, we are at an impasse, but we have agreed neither of us is comfortable watching “The Hoarders.”

Note: Originally published December 2011.
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