Do you know what I discovered? Trump taught me something recently. (I know! Aren’t you amazed!) He taught me how a person can get people to blow smoke up his or her behind, and it can sometimes be a good thing. I’m sure you all saw it or read about it. He called his first cabinet meeting and after touting his royal greatness, he had his cabinet sound off one-by-one about what a fabulous job he’s been doing and what an incredible leader he is.
Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
BINGO, I thought. This is sheer genius! Trumpee has taught me something I can use. Why don’t I apply this methodology to getting reviews for my new book, I thought? You see, I just learned from my publicist that if I can get 50 reviews from people who have read my new book, The Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts from my Miseducated Self, Amazon will list my book in its newsletters and other promotions. Isn’t that cool?
“The Fetus Chronicles” Book Mark Proof: Su from Earthly Charms
I bet you’re saying to yourself, “I’d love to write a review for you Eleanor, but if the truth be known, the thought of typing something into Amazon cares me to death. How do I go about it, and what if I get tongue tied, or in this case, finger tied?” Don’t be afraid. It is quite simple. You don’t have to be Hemingway; you can say as little as, “I liked this book,” and all you have to do is follow these very simple instructions:
In the meantime, while you are thinking about how to “blow smoke up my ass” on Amazon (if you hate my book, remember that my name is “Smeegle Klondonovich”), please enjoy a redo of my first published writing that started it all. I got beaten by the writing bug, so to speak, after I wrote this. This story will hopefully remind you what a “brilliant, talented, outstanding, deeply profound writer I am”—don’t you agree?
WILL HIGH SCHOOL EVER END?
(Repurposed post from 2013)
Why is it in real life, as in high school, we exert so much energy trying to impress people we don’t know, won’t ever see again after our season of random internment, and who have no financial or emotional investment in our future?
I have beautiful, White girlfriends who won’t go to a swimming pool while on vacation because they don’t have the figures they had in college anymore, and the strangers across the pool from them, who they don’t know and couldn’t care a rat’s ass about, might become scornful of their cellulite or less than perky boobs. When in reality, they should be embracing Joy Behar’s classic observation of things that shouldn’t matter one iota: “So what – who cares?”
All my baby boomer girlfriends have better bodies than I, but even though I’m at least 50 pounds heavier (when I’m telling the truth), I have a black woman’s sensibility about this issue: accent the positive, suck in the negative, and skirt the thunderous. Then bedazzle the shit out of your goddess self with a rhinestone cover-up and rhinestone flip-flops, and “drop it like it’s hot, baby”!
Author Doing Her Bedazzled Thing: Photo Credit–J. Tomczyk
Not too long ago, my husband and I took an extended cruise in the Mediterranean. It was the trip of a lifetime. Everything was better than we had fantasized: the weather was picture perfect, the people were warm and accepting, the 3,000 passenger ship was outstanding, the food was superb, and we were like newlyweds reveling in each other’s company. The only thing that seemed to cause just a tiny bit of consternation was the very aggressive touring itinerary (4 days of excursions, 1 day at sea, 3 days of excursion, 1 day at sea, 2 days of excursion, 1 day at sea) that we had been given. But I wasn’t overly concerned because even though I’m a “fat-bottom girl,” it doesn’t mean I’m not in good health. I’m a daily exerciser and had trained for this trip for 8 months. I added strenuous hills to my daily, treadmill workout, climbed the stairs at work in the afternoons, and special ordered shoes a triathlon athlete would use.
What I didn’t expect and what my research never revealed was that all of our 10 touring sites were perched on the top of ancient hills or mountains with steep inclines to protect the antiquity inhabitants from marauders. Most accesses were like scaling a wall.
Port of Malta: Photo Credit–E. Tomczyk
Every evening we were given an overview of the activities for the next day. In between the instructions for the cake decorating class and the marzipan demonstrations was listed the information the cruise director felt we needed in order to survive our shore excursions.
Ship Brochure: It takes 600 steps to reach the top of your fabulous destination. There is a cable car if you prefer or you can employ a donkey to transport you up and down the ancient stone stairs. Wear comfortable shoes. Cost: $100 – $400/person. The ship departs at 5:30 – if you miss the departure, you will have to make your own way to the next port to meet the ship.
Translation: The 600 steps are straight up the face of a mountain; the cable car often has a two-hour wait, and you will miss your ship utilizing that mode of transportation. The stairs are shared by donkeys that slip constantly on the descent and leave slippery “pooh” all over the staircase from Hell. No manner of footwear is capable of keeping you upright once you lose your footing going down – you might as well kiss your sorry ass goodbye. Before you leave this beautiful island, the tour guide will make sure she dumps you in the shopping area that has only one way in and out to the stairs or the unreliable, overly-crowded cable car system. The shopkeepers will try to help you by relieving you of as many Benjamins as possible to lighten the load of your descent. Trying to balance yourself on a donkey while your hands are stuffed with chotzkies however will be proof-positive that you have lost your ever-loving mind – once and for all. Good luck, silly over-weight Americans!
DAY THREE TOUR: On day three, my husband (the Energizer Bunny), a gay couple (the extremely handsome, not-one-ounce-of-fat-on-their-bones Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka look-alikes), a lesbian couple (50’ish with similar body frames as mine whose bodies had each born children in their former lives), an octogenarian grandmother from Iowa sporting a recent double-knee replacement, and an old dude of an age somewhere between 90 and Methuselah began our shore excursion.
Because I temporarily lost consciousness, I can’t remember at what point I lost my mind and reverted back to high school. I do remember approaching a sky-high escalator in a museum with hundreds of other people in sweltering heat and watching the escalator break down right before my group got on. Because there was a wall of people behind us, we were forced to go forward and mount a circular ramp that seemed like twenty flights of stairs that shot straight up to the heavens. The lesbian mothers, the grandmother from Iowa, the Methuselah dude, and I stared at each other in total horror! Hadn’t we just climbed 300 steps the day before and 200 steps the day before that, as well as an unexpected 100 steps in a museum that wasn’t listed? Didn’t the brochure assure us there would be no more steps to climb on this tour? I could have sworn someone said we’d catch a break today.
Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com
All I know is that my husband, who has the ability to walk faster than most people can run, took off up the ramp to find the tour guide who was nowhere to be seen. As the rest of our group began to ascend the inevitable, the gay boys began telling us about a rather large, fat-bottomed woman (whose ass was the size of Cleveland) who couldn’t make it up the last ramp in the previous city, and they just couldn’t understand why people didn’t read the ship instructions about the strenuous nature of the excursions.
(Had they seen my ass, I wondered? Was this a veiled hint about moi?)
“I mean, really now, why can’t these people ‘just say no’ if they’re too fat to complete the course without looking like they’re going to die,” said our Neil Patrick Harris look-alike cruise mate. “Personally, I feel like making an announcement tonight at dinner over the PA system. ‘Really people – know your limitations; because you need to cut the rest of us some freakin’ slack! We’re having heart attacks here just wondering if you’re gonna have a heart attack right in front of us’”!
The lesbian couple, the grandmother, the tremulous old man, and I gingerly laughed along with the boys, but we silently heard the “Rocky theme song” roaring in our ears (or was it the blood rushing to our heads before the onset of major strokes as we secretly wondered if they were ridiculing us?). We took off up the incline like thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby trying to match the gait of the Adonis boys, leaning almost at a 45 degree angle to balance our bodies on the slope. As I passed the old man at my road-runner pace, his eyes widened in terror as his lips mouthed, “What the fuck?” but my team and I had to leave him in the dust. Keeping up with the Adonis-looking critics was all that mattered, even if it meant moving at the speed of light and losing a soldier along the way. These bodies had born children and nursed babies, goddamnit! The fat on our asses, our low-hanging breasts, and puff-n-stuff stomachs were badges of honor. Maybe the gay boys had children, but they sure as hell hadn’t “had” children!
The octogenarian dropped out about two-thirds of the way (clutching her side) and gasping for air. My lesbian sisters and I made it to the top without dying, but I had a Charlie-horse in my ass that wouldn’t quit. As the girls and I high-fived each other (sisters, hangin’ tough!), I could see (being the chubbiest in the bunch) that I had impressed the boys. What they didn’t know was that I couldn’t say more than two words without gasping for air or I would keel over and die. I didn’t dare speak without great measure. I knew if I tried to articulate more than one five-word sentence without pausing, I’d be the gay boys’ prophecy come true: one fat-bottom woman careening into their perfectly fit, athletic bodies and knocking them back down the slope like a giant chocolate snowball from on high. So I took out my Blackberry (remember those?), nonchalantly leaned against the museum wall, and pretended to check messages as if I were some high-muckety-muck at a Fortune 500 company and the business couldn’t live without me.
Runner Meme: Courtesy of @ Cook in Canuck
“Some hike, huh?” said one of the gorgeous boys.
“Uh, huh. . . .” I whispered, while trying not to lose consciousness as my heart almost exploded in my chest from over-exertion.
“Great ship, isn’t it? said the other Adonis boy. “What’s on your agenda tomorrow? We’re going rock climbing. Isn’t that exciting?!”
“G-r-e-a-t!” (tap) “Me doing” (tap) “pool” (tap) “water volley-ball tournament” (tap) “against a bunch of twenty-somethings” (tap)—”gonna make them eat my” (tap) “dust.”
“Excellent! You go, girl with your bad self!”
Clearly, I had impressed the boys.
The next day found the quivering old man with both hands glued to a walker while arduously climbing into the hot tub (he was still there at dinner time with a smile on his face). The lesbian couple, the grandmother, and I met up at the spa first, and then we subsequently waddled to our separate “quiet” corners around the adult pool (cellulite, thunderous thighs, and saggy tits on full display). We spent the afternoon sipping rum punches and napping the day away in rockin’ bathing suits while our mental health applauded our goal-setting activity of just being ourselves and being proud of the hard-earned battles won by giving and sustaining life with our amazing bodies.
ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA”) MOMENT
I’ve discovered that if my girlfriends (old and new) and I ever want to shake the specter of high school, we need to finally travel at the beat of our own drummers in our old age, because it’s the condition in which we arrive at the final destination, not the opinions of others, that really matters. Joy Behar really is an oracle whose mantra we should adopt when the high school spirit tries to tear us down and make us forget the amazing women that we have become in our mature years: So what – who cares!
Writer’s Meme: Courtesy of LianaBrooks.com
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