Henry David Thoreau–remember him?–said, I paraphrase, “A man is as rich as the things he doesn’t need.”
Isn’t that kind’a un-American?
I mean, isn’t it true the more stuff you have the richer you are? What I’ve found is: the opposite. The more stuff I have, the more stuff I have to dust, move, arrange, rearrange, walk around or stumble over. Do you ever feel that way?
What does it mean to be rich, anyhow? In my heavy dusty American Heritage Dictionary the first definition is “Possessing great material wealth”. Which would mean–would it not?– you’d have to be rich enough to hire guys to dust, move , arrange, rearrange, walk around or stumble over your stuff.
If you have enough long green to buy a Trump jet, you’d have to buy guys to fly it, fix it, clean it, park it and do other stuff you need to do when you own a flying white elephant. Wouldn’t it be better to have a plain old-fashioned elephant? You could take it for a swim, a walk, or feed it and sing it to sleep when it needs a nap.
I’ll admit I am a collector. I collect books and animals. I’d be lost without them. Books are my oldest friends. I enjoy the silence of their company and they’re always there when I feed them. .
The animals are my family. I’m happiest with a bunch of kitty/doggy/parrot snacks in my hand to feed them
But, like you, I love the malls. I love the herd when it’s feeding or shopping. Sometimes I think it’s where they’re most content.
Are rich people more comtent than us? Do rich people go to malls?
I see few Roll Royces in the parking lots. Maybe they drive cranky old clunkers when they go to Lihue? Then, with ragged baseball caps slung backward on their handsome heads, raggedy canvas shoes on their famous feet, and what goes on between the two raggedy, too, do they look like us? Would they be collecting stuff? Carting it around in shopping bags? How about munching a red hot dog in a fast food joint?
I probably wouldn’t recognize one if I saw one. Would you?
If they weren’t dressed up to walk the red carpet or had a string of serving men– and women– to protect them and carry all the stuff they bought , would they be visible to the naked eye?
We seem to be obsessed with money and guys who have it. We love celebrities who flash around like peacocks on parade. I’m told some who visit Kauai, love it here ’cause we don’t bug them. Maybe all the ogling gets a bit tiresome?
Maybe, for just a moment, they’d rather be a peasant. Kauai is full of peasants.
Me? I love to stroll through the mall and come out the other end package free. If a guy is as rich as the things he doesn’t need, I’m the richest peasant of all.
Archive for the ‘satire’ Category
June 24, 2016
Henry David Thoreau–remember him?–said, I paraphrase, “A man is as rich as the things he doesn’t need.”
SAY MONEY, HONEY
April 1, 2016
Isn’t that a tidy little word? Pretty, really. It has class. Stands boldly but primly in black ink on a white page. Everybody talks about it. It’s never out of style. Five letters. Two syllables. Anybody can say it and it rhymes with honey as my lede proclaims.
But what is it? It’s a medium of exchange. It comes in different forms. Different folks in different countries bandy it about in different fashions. In America we have long green stuff with different faces on it. George Washington’s displayed on the one dollar bills, Benjamin Franklin’s on the hundred. I think Americans like to flash their Benjamins. Today the Washingtons, although hardly anybody calls them that, are more useful in a bonfire than they are in a department store. Today they’re almost as useless as the penny. (Abraham Lincoln’s mug is stamped there on some kind of round yellow metal coin that is useful as a weight. It can also be used in plastic sandwich bags filled with water and clipped to the back of a chair at a picnic. Somehow this odd combo repels flies. Honest. Try it and see.)
We also put the green stuff in banks, who jot numbers down on paper and send us monthly accounts as to how much money we loaded off on them so we can write numbers on pieces of paper called checks that we can exchange for whatever if our credit is good. These slips of paper sometimes bounce, which is a factual–but fascinating– feat for a piece of paper to do and disagreeably frowned upon by he who accepted the thing in exchange for the hamburger you ate.
A few of us still have a book called a savings account with numbers in it that tell us how much money we’ve stashed. Most of us prefer to see those numbers go up rather than down. Unfortunately, quite often the banks go belly up and a cipher, called a zero-as in it’s naught there any more– is rather disturbing. Arabs invented the cipher. They called it ‘sifr’ or ’empty’. Shepherds would send sixteen sheep out to graze and none–zilch, sifr, zero–would return. Maybe that’s what happens to savings accounts?
Confusing. Checks bounce and money saved grows legs and vanishes. Poooof. It’s enough to give you a headache.
I think Americans are addicted to money. We worship it. You get to be a really big time head honcho if you’ve got a bundle of the stuff and I’ve read that 1% of the people in the world–not all Americans– own half of it. Those of us at the bottom, that’s you and me, own 1%.
And they, the 1%ers, need more. They always need more. What do they do with it?
How many yachts and Ferrari’s do they need, anyhow?
But, what really fries me, is the awe, the kowtowing, the knuckle undering that gets plumped on those blokes.
“You mean, like Donald Trump?”
Say money, honey.
Je Suis L’Homme
March 22, 2016
But, by all means, come out of the closet, if you’re in one.
I’m an outspoken atheist, have been for years, but I don’t claim to have come out of a closet. I was in a big room. Just me. No religion. An only child. Playfully– one day–I knocked down the walls and set myself free.
My father had sent me to the nuns to be raised and I loved them. Wonderful teachers. They were all in love with my father who brought them flowers and made them smile. They were happy women. About in the fourth grade all my friends took First Communion. They wore white dresses and veils and married god or something–I never quite understood–and I felt left out. So I asked, “Could I become a Catholic?” He answered. “Yes. When you’re old enough to find out what it’s all about.”
When I found out what it was ‘all about’, I said, ” I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.” So off I went in a thousand different directions. Strangely enough, it was an Irish Priest, Father O’Connell who I met–befriended, shared a beer with on the porch of the Manila Yacht Club– who sent me on my way to freedom. He dubbed me a ‘free soul’–a phrase I liked– and knew nothing about, but the more I learned the more I loved the idea.
When the walls came down I found myself surrounded by other bipeds. Related to the apes. Chimps. Monkeys without tails. Darwin got in the act.
I found human beings. So beautiful. Skin white and black and brown and yellow and pink and every color in-between. Eyes blue and green and gray and brown, snapping and flashing with intelligence. Hair a vast assortment of shades. Red. Yellow. Black. Brown. They painted. They wrote. Composed music. Danced and sang. Young and old and in-between. Male and female and other preferences. Once I knew a homosexual stallion. (They’re unipeds.) He liked boys not girls. Never bothered me.
Humans think, therefore we are. Carry no guns. Carry no flag. We’re citizens of the world. “Breathes there no human with heart so dead who never to herself has said, This is my home, my planet earth.”
So, if you chose to be a Klansman–hide your face and wear a white robe–burn a cross. Come out. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch you pass.
If you’re a witch who needs to be exorcised, talk to Sarah Palin. She’ll arrange one. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.
If you ‘re a nazi, wear a brown shirt– easy to find–and goose step. Tattoo a swastika on your forehead for all we care. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.
Strap on a bomb and blow yourself and others to smithereens. Why not start with each other? We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.
I’m proud to be related to the Chimp. Wonder if she’s happy to be related to me?
The Greening of Lihue
November 17, 2015
Don’t you sometimes feel sorry for politicians?
I know they’re not our favorite servants, public or otherwise. I’ve known bedmakers who would serve their office better. Certainly we all know they should have a better grasp managing money. If we managed our budget as they manage theirs, we’d all be broke. Sadly, many are, but I don’t think they should blame politicians for that. I know who–or what–they should blame but I don’t want to start a fight.
Think about this? No matter what our politicians do, seems like half the people in the country, in the state, in the county, disapprove. Bad. Can we assume fifty percent approve? Good.
We rarely hear from they who approve, but we hear a constant stream of invective from those who disapprove. Some people like bike paths. Some people don’t. Some people want super ferries. Some people don’t. Most people don’t want higher taxes but everybody wants more, better, and faster public services. Fancy new high-tech garbage trucks? Oh boy! Where to dump the stuff? Not in my backyard? That’s a 100% downer.
Everyone complains about the roads. Repair mine. Don’t repair his. Then we complain about the inconvenience we experience when the roads are under repair. Lihue is a maze most of us rats get lost in. Noise. Detours. Traffic jam ups and, quite often, a wrong turn–arrows, flag offs–sends us skittering off a hundred and eighty degrees south of that place we wanted to reach.
A restaurant? The Mall? A public potty? A parking spot within walking distance of it? (That’s any place less than ten steps from the spot on which we wanted to land.)
Some answers: bring a book. You can read it in stopped up traffic jams. A sandwich. Munch. Munch. A bottle of water. Slurp. Slurp. A road map. Note paper and a pen. Write a letter to TGI about stupid politicians who do stupid things and inconvenience the hell out of us. Complain. Stomp your feet. Cross your arms. Scowl. Got cell phone? Yell at the innocent in a government office who answers the phone.
So what’s this got to do with greening?
Well, I love the green roundabouts. I love all the greened up strips beside the road. I love to see work men planting something. Watering something. ‘Course all this green stuff costs green stuff. Some guys want to spend it. Some guys don’t.
I got a’idea. Plant citrus. Local oranges are delicious–and the scent of orange blossoms!! –everybody loves good smells. Beats carbon dioxide. Picking them when ripe would create government jobs and income. Buy homegrown food–good food, healthy food–from government road side stands.
Maybe we could plant some long green stuff. Sugar cane. Tall grass. So gorgeous. So generously, sweetly, cleansing the air we breath. Such a marvelous living historical reminder of the wonderful island we once were. Don’t recommend burning. Machete it–more jobs– let it grow back all by itself.
Thank you Mayor Carvalho.
July 24, 2015
It is my ardent belief that pigs can be pets. Spoiled pets. Swine are quite intelligent. Clean, polite and well-bred, they wallow but prefer pools. Fresh, clean, blue water pools. Not mud puddles. They must wallow. It’s the way they stay cool on hot dry days which, as we all know, went hand- in- hand with global warming. Today, I would be interviewing an eclectic couple who raise the finest pedigree swine, the Poland China, on their land. I look up to these people. They represent, to me, the future of the human race.
By their very nature, pigs can create an entirely new way of living. A better way of living. Put villagers back to work. Food on the table–some pork, don’t be greedy–and keep the children busy and entertained by their antics and upkeep which is a much healthier life style than playing war games and envying Lords and Ladies of the manor, who have nothing but their best interest at heart.
“Children should be out planting trees. Climbing trees. Worshipping trees. We need more trees. These animals can be taught to watch and snuffle and oink. Snuffles and oinks are calming peaceful sounds. Unlike dogs that bark and roosters that crow,” the Lord of the manor took a breath. “They are omnivores Like us. Eat both animals and plants. Drink great quantities of water and have an extraordinary sense of smell. We’re trying to grow and teach our large snouted friends to hunt Truffle mushrooms. The children have fun grabbing them before the animals eat them. It’s a game…”
“… Calm in disposition,” his Lady smiled. “They are a joy to behold. A delight to live with. More swine, fewer children, is what we wish for. Plan for. Hope to obtain.” A happy black sow with a white snout and white patches on her feet and a spray of white on her back ambled by. She had a pleasant and friendly demeanor. She was followed by a litter of 10 dashing piglets. They followed in a line, but bunched up as they drew closer.
“They’re shy,” the Lady of the manor whispered. “Keep your voice down. Don’t startle them. They’re just babies. She had a litter of sixteen. These lived. Those that die end up in the kitchen. Mind, they’re healthy. A bit underweight but tasty.”
I whispered. Stood frozen in my tracks and watched them pass. “How much does she weigh?” I whimpered.
“Probably six or seven hundred pounds. They can weigh up to 800 but we prefer the diminutives.”
“Designing and building shallow pools and meadow huts is a creative and wholesome endeavor…”
“…and they are the last of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. They represent happiness, honesty, fortune and virility. Surely most honorable human qualities.”
“Swinophobia was so senseless.”
“And raising, starving, tiny pet pigs was so stupid. Genetic modification is the answer.”
I looked up at this giant of a man. Twelve feet tall and 1600 pound of male perfection. He excited my senses.
Ms Pink Orpington
July 22, 2015
I don’t suffer fool lightly. I’m outspoken. I speak my mind.
I’m President of our local exclusive–select, picky, proud– Women’s Club. We do golf and an occasional Fashion Show. I’m in charge of selecting models. Do not approve of anorexics. We’re full-blown women. In our prime and proud of it.
I’m the wealthiest woman in my Bible Study class. I can write a check for four figures. I’m a member of our local Tea Party group and volunteer to do all the paper work and keep files on local events and personalities. This town’s riddled with locals, liberals, progressives, atheists and left-wing radicals. Dreadful. Well, I can produce when need be. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it. I also vet books allowed in the local library. Dare mention Steinbeck, that horrid Hemingway, Tony Morrison!! I dare you…
I shop at a local Macy’s–they know me there–but purchase fashionable attire at Neiman’s. I’m proud to be known as narcissistic. I never wear the same outfit twice. Sometimes, when I travel, I take the pick of the lot with me. I can, and do, wear things I wear here at some fine hotel in distant cities. I sell most things, for a fine price–believe me– at a local Second Hand. Giggle inwardly and point– surreptitiously–at they who dare buy my discards here and show them off in public. My friends and I enjoy this small whimsy. I live alone. I’m a widow. And the master bedroom in my three bedroom high-rise– on the top floor, what a view– is my wardrobe. I read about the lady in Texas with the three-story wardrobe and did so envy her. She did it for charity, of course–people pay to visit and envy and covet–and serves champagne. She has a champagne floor. We are truly kindred souls. One of a kind. Sisters under the skin. I think of doing the same here on a smaller scale, of course. I think she would approve. I think I’ll write a perfumed note and tell her of my great admiration.
I keep two pets. hairless cats–Warm and Fuzzy–they keep me company. Registetered Sphynx, they’re beautiful, awkward, and rare. The only ones in the entire town. I disdain common cats. Mine are pink and long-eared and they play on the terrace. Pink is my favorite color. Thus my nickname.
I admit I shop at the local big box. I buy in bulk. My cats and I could survive for three months without leaving our residence. In case of a disaster I keep a pantry. That’s what I do with my second bedroom. It, like my closet, is well stocked and orderly.
This morning, as I sauntered down the aisles, I discovered, to my dismay, the idiots in charge were out of cat food. I hailed a workman, “Where is the cat food?” I demanded.
“It’s over by the beer.”
“By the beer? is that to imply cat lovers drink beer? We drink Dom.” Guess I told him off.
July 17, 2015
Grandmother Trump loved Shirley Temple. The dance routines. The songs. She shared her bed with three Shirley Temple dolls. Had several stored in her closet and one in a chair by a window overlooking Central Park. Though ragged and frayed and covered with dust they stand staunchly in the glass enclosed curio I inherited when my mother died. The thing’s baroque as all get out. We’ve spent a fortune hauling it from base to base. It also holds an entire collection of Shirley DVDs. Plus albums and other memorabilia. Three generations of us us have contributed, and my hope is the fetish will be passed on. All of us, for years, have polished the glass weekly.
I’m Shirley. My daughter’s Shirley. She’s ten. Like me, she learned about the original from the get go. When I was three my mother bought me a ruffled white, red polka dot dress like the original wore in Stand up and Cheer. I dressed my Shirley in it when she was three. I read recently the real thing sold for $75,000. Wish I could’ve bought it. Just as my mother taught me, I taught my daughter, the original was a symbol of happiness and hope.
Neither my daughter nor I excelled at singing and dancing, our hair was neither gold nor curly, but we loved to pretend. Like me, my Shirley likes the Littlest Rebel movie best. The original made that movie in 1935 and was about the Civil War. Appropriate for the times, don’t you think? Her staircase dance with BoJangles delights us. My husband often releases blacks and brings them home to watch the film. We laugh out loud as they try to imitate Bo.
The real Shirley died on February 11, 2014. This year we mourned all day– and mourned all night– trying to get all of the misery right.
Wonder how my husband–who’s West Point proper– puts-up with our idiotcyncracy? He loves us. We make him happy. I think he loves the curio cabinet, too. Sometimes I think that’s why he married me. He loves baroque. He saw grandmother laid out in pink satin–uplifted and rich–and fell in love. He says she was the greatest baroque he’d ever seen. He brings fellow officers home to see her picture–young and beautiful –and show off the Michael Amini Chateau Beauvais.
We’re big on birthdays. So this year Shirley and I plotted. We talked our favorite BoJangles into teaching Shirley how to shoot. Found some Woodland Camo Fatigue pants and a vest. Also a great Xploderzgun that shoots jell balls. Our Bojangles taught her how to use it and set her in a tree. Then he loosed a rabbit at which she took aim. Turned out she was a natural.
On his birthday, we talked her daddy into taking a walk. The stage was set. Shirley was treed. The rabbit was loosed. One shot got him.
“If that’d been a real bullet, long ears’d be dinner.”
“Next time,” we cheered. Proud. Our Shirley was the Littlest Sniper.