An Issue of Branding

I was recently offended that a girlfriend tagged a bunch of other cat ladies in a post about cats, but not me. Let me stop you right there — I know that’s stupid. If you read my stuff, you know how I handle offense. It never lasts.

I was just slightly hurt because I love cats & I thought everyone knew it, is all.

Anyhow, my ridiculous peculiarities aside, I said something to this friend, who then said “But cat lady isn’t your brand. Your brand is church lady.”

Usually when you say “church lady” to Americans, they think of the Dana Carvey skit on SNL, but I knew this wasn’t what she meant. She meant Church Lady, that chick that is literally always at church, & when she’s not at church, she’s trying to be the bride of Christ to errbody she meets & works with because that’s what He asked us to do.

And I was immediately okay with that. I just didn’t realize that was now “my brand”.

It makes me laugh, because I think we all have this image of ourselves (heck, of our work or business) that is sometimes wildly inaccurate. It can be wrong because we are narcissistic, or because we have too little self worth. We can also have an internal life we never share with anyone, so we are alarmed to find out that the external world has already branded us.

For example, you may be a wonderful professor, husband, dad, sister, writer, singer, machinist, rodeo clown, or nurse, but nobody knows because you’re a complete douche to people you don’t know (o hai, internets).

That my brand is “church lady” is okie doke by me. Apparently what I’m pumping out into the world is not my love of cats, or even that I’ve written some books (please buy my books), but that I love Jesus. A lot.

This doesn’t suck.

It’s also unexpected; I’m kind of a disaster person. I’m surprised my brand isn’t “try hard”, as in “try hard not to suck”. And I do try to do a lot of helpful things. Sometimes I do pretty well, but a lot of the time I muddle through, having virtually no consistent point of reference for whatever thing I’m trying. So far, nobody has died, so that’s working for me on some level.

Someone once told me having a cheerful & enthusiastic personality covers a multitude of sins. I think they were trying to be nice.

Anyhow, being known as a Church Lady means that somehow, my constant internal dialogue of “Why are you such a disaster person?” is making it out into the Mainstream far less than my love of Jesus. It could be argued that Jesus actually surrounded himself with disaster people.

Peter was ridiculous, once described (by an effervescent being of light I’m privileged to know) as an overly enthusiastic grad student. Martha felt put upon & Mary literally wept on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with oil WITH HER HAIR which, let’s be honest, are both things I would do.

I was also told that being both Martha & Mary is about as close as humans can get to being good Christians. So. Cooking, cleaning, & weeping. I’VE GOT THIS.

Tell me if you need prayer. Ask me if you’re confused about something. I think my priest is this close to forbidding me to answer anyone’s theological questions, but if you want an answer that is earnest but probably a disaster, we just won’t tell him.

If this is my brand, Imma revel in it. It’s a “market” I feel comfortable in, a label I’m perfectly happy to wear. CHURCH LADY by…well, not Calvin. No no. Not that.

good Lord I’m the worst

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Medium excess

I was just musing over some of the more fun experiences I’ve had since living in Los Angeles, and without exception, every single one of them involved middle aged, middle class men going slightly overboard at dinner.

I am not talking about rappers popping bottles or doctors splurging on the Kobe beef or any of that claptrap. I am talking about simple, hard working excess.

What does that look like? He tells you “Oh, you need another drink. Also we need tableside guacamole. Let’s just go nuts!” He is literally spending in excess of $40 here. Somebody stop him.

Or there’s two bottles of wine at dinner, or there’s more Chinese food than four people can eat, or somebody suggests a pitcher of margaritas but won’t let anyone chip in to pay.

OMG. I just realized I am describing dad luxuries. They’re not enough to break the bank, but you’d never do it every day. Maybe someone won a golf bet or had a little saved up from last month. This is the guy who takes you to the dollar store and tells you to fill the cart, go crazy! And you spend $50 instead of $10. And he just laughs with glee.

Oh God, I genuinely enjoy Dad Level Excesses. And I am intimidated and put off by anything more.

At 43 years old, have I just decided that Pinnacle Fun involves being all of my friends’ 22 year old daughter?

Is that sad or good? I can’t tell. I feel like it’s fine, but somebody will inevitably tell me to aim for higher, off the chain fun — or that I benefit from some level of privilege because I know a few men in their fifties who happen to not be suffering all the time.

It may also be the conversation. But who can’t have a great conversation after two piña coladas and guac?

I’ve decided that it’s fine and that the next person who wants to take me to PF Chang’s for dinner and order appetizers and dessert is welcome to do so. They have gluten free.

Well I’ll Be

My entire life, I have recoiled with horror when Mr. Mister’s “Take These Broken Wings” is played. This is because I associate it with a murder that I witnessed as a little girl.

It was a murder on television, but still. It scared me so much I ran out of the living room & into my bedroom, where the song was playing on my radio. I can’t hear it to this day without becoming miserable.

This is how I remembered the murder. Matt Dillon ran into a room where Natalie Wood was fighting with an albino who was cutting her with a straight razor. Then the albino was stabbed with a knitting needle.

It is now over 30 years later, & I still have nightmares about this scene, so in an effort to purge myself of this trauma, I crowd sourced Twitter. Useless. So I googled.

You want to know what horror film traumatized a nine-year-old girl so badly that she has nightmares about it at 43 years of age?

Foul Play. Starring Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase. I’m told there’s even a Burgess Meredith karate fight.

Just kill me now.

But seriously how is this horrific sight funny??! 

Copyright whatever movie studio made this hellish vision & called it a comedy.


Children are impressionable! Be careful what they’re watching!

Knowing my mum she was passed out on the settee. Or cooking. Or my brother was feeding Doritos to the cat.

What did they ever do to game designers?

I found myself chanting “Die, frog, die!” for the fourth time playing this stupid game I have on my phone to stave off existential angst.

And this is very uncharacteristic of me, because I’m quite fond of frogs. Or rather, I have no particular quarrel with frogs. They have injured neither family or friend, and they have yet to create a site with pop up ads.

But in taking a mental inventory of my frog rage, I realized that they are the mortal enemy in several games I play or have played in the past 8 years. Gone are the golden days of Frogger, where one used to smack the side of the game cabinet if a truck squashed your precious Highway Crossing Frog.

There’s a game where a frog spits deadly balls at you. Another where he steals your vegetables. Another where she freezes your bubbles. And so on. Frogs are villains now.

We are at peak ranidaphobia, which is a fancy word for racism against frogs. Do not confuse it with gallophobia.

I then remember the plague of frogs that Moses wrought upon Egypt via the will of God. That’s kind of a weird thing to curse somebody with, at least to us modern folk. “Oh noes, frogs! What’re they gonna do, ribbit at me? Eat flies out of my house? Please, anything but that!”

But of course, too much of anything is awful, as the Australians found out in recent years when their prime minister urged citizens to beat them with golf clubs and cricket bats.

Probably while screaming “Die, frog, die!”

I wonder what would have happened if the Egyptians suffered a plague of puppies? So many tiny tails wagging, such joyous yipping! 

So much poooooop.

Yes, too much of anything is awful. God is wise.

The Ants Go Marching TO THEIR DEATHS hoorah

The enemy.


Day 2298 of the War With the Ants continues. I’ve discovered yet another point of ingress & shut it down. This one was a biggy; they won’t be using that crack in the baseboards for a while!

The daunting task of keeping the ants out sometimes seems like a losing battle for the Korean-Anglo alliance, but we fight on valiantly. There are so many more of them than us. The Korean contingent once destroyed several battalions of the bastards coming from above, if you can believe that. They had taken Cabinet Ridge & Refrigerator Valley, but the Korean managed to cut off their supply line & wipe the march off our land with a few Clorox wipes. The Korean is merciless, but effective.

The Anglo force concentrates on scouts. Diplomacy has utterly failed. The ants have been told time & time again that they are welcome to exist in peace, but they are not to enter the Korean Anglo domain. The patio is a demilitarized zone, but it is watched cautiously. The Anglo does not bother the ants on the patio, but she gives them a stern talking to. If she sees even one scout in the domain, she obliterates him. 

Do not pity the ants. They swarm mercilessly & without discernment between food stuffs, leisure furniture, & even sealed items. When there were cats, they even forced them to starve for maybe 30 minutes as they overran their food bowls. The cats protested heartily until the Anglo contingent was lead to the scene of the massacre. Then she performed a massacre of her own in swift retaliation.

This is Sparta.

Arthur

 

Arthur, probably.

 
Arthur told me he likes reading things I write about him & that I should write more about him, so here is a post entirely about Arthur.

Arthur (not his real name, but it’s close) is a guy who’s been going to our church for about a year. He seems innocuous at first, just a polite guy in a suit & tie, but soon you realize he is basically the personification of evil. 

Don’t let that alarm you, though. Arthur is pretty spectacular. He laughs at all my jokes. He also agrees with nearly everything I say. Already you can tell he is one of the best people ever, despite being the personification of evil.

He is the dark yin to my yang. He is Palpatine to my Yoda, Saruman to my Galadriel, YoSafBridge to my Inara. One time myself, Christopher, & Arthur were in the church kitchen eating ice cream Arthur made for us & I thought, “Here we are: Harry, Hermione, & Draco.”

Arthur is also my sham husband & as such, is very encouraging. He has yet to say a disparaging word to me, about me. He has said a number of disparaging words to me about nearly everything else ever. In that respect, he is maybe Edina to my Patsy?

I am fairly certain Arthur & my boyfriend are going to get along beautifully when they meet next week. They both hate the same stuff & revere the same concepts. The difference is that Arthur might use fascism to achieve his aims, where my boyfriend is more of an anarchist. 

We are going to open a religiously themed Snuggie business together. We also offer to plaster entertaining banter on your Facebook wall for a small fee. Our text conversations are legendary.

Arthur is a trained pastry chef and an accountant. I would not be surprised to learn he played the lute weekly at a retirement home. He works harder than any of us. Evil never sleeps.

I do, though, so I will have to write more on Arthur after Easter, maybe. Meanwhile, enjoy Arthur’s theme.

The Vampire’s Lament

  The legend, at least according to some films & books, is that a vampire may not enter a home unless they are invited. And, seeing as how I live off the blood of virgins, I have this problem.

[Editorial note: predictive text would have you believe I live off the blood of Virginians, which is absurd.]

I don’t go anywhere unless I’m invited. “How come I see you tweet about Target, then? Huh?” you ask because you are such a clever dick. Target invites me to them every day with about 79 emails. CVS, too! They beg me to come in & offer me coupons, which is like an invitation with a demand to bring gifts (of cash or credit).

I literally had to be told to come to church by a fellow parishioner. I have not shown up to things only to receive plaintive texts asking me where I am, to which I reply “I wasn’t invited.” They seem to think I was, because they made some vague statement about everybody coming down to something.

But surely that doesn’t include me. Nobody has dropped by my domicile with a calling card, requesting my presence at Applebee’s or at whatever fresh hell “everybody” has congregated.

I just assume I am not included if I am not specifically told to be present.

I now realize this is less a vampire thing & might be an English thing. Americans seem to have no problem showing up to stuff for which there is no specific request for the pleasure of their company. In fact, if an American is asked to RSVP, there seems to be some confusion, like that maybe RSVP stands for “Right…So…Victorian protocol? Well, fuck that. We won a war!”

Simmer down, Some Americans. I know it’s not all of you.

The problem with my problem is that I sometimes inadvertently hurt feelings. “We all went to So&So’s house, but you just went home. Do you hate us?” Well, now, yes, because you have asked me this dumb question. But no, I didn’t hate you. You were looking at everyone else when you said it. I was petting a cat or whatever. Nobody made eye contact with me or said my name. 

Is that weird? I guess so. Also, nobody was offering the blood of virgins. Do you know how hard it is to find adult virgins these days? So I had to return to my lair, I guess. I don’t know.

I also assume people can only take me in small doses, because small talk is exceedingly difficult for me. I am also guaranteed to say something awful if I’m allowed to be around too long. It will never be intended to be awful, but I know it is awful because half the people burst into hearty guffaws, & the other half look as though they long for pearls to clutch.

I admit also that once I learn you are a blusher, it becomes my mission in life to turn you 8 shades of pink by midnight. The trouble is, I am also an irredeemable blusher.

So if you want me somewhere, you have to say. Text, FB invite, look into my eyes, say my name. Preferably pin a note to an adult virgin & send them round my place two weeks in advance. That’s a love.

Or just enjoy this song, where the strings are sadly arranged on synth, but oh well: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bCukHL4L-5Q