Friday, July 31, 2015

Gladys Gets A Big Old Howdy!

When you grow up in the south, as Gladys had, you were used to people waving at you when you passed in your vehicles.  She remembered being very young and asking her daddy, Trooper Bob, if he knew all those people who he exchanged waves.  Trooper Bob, thought a minute then responded “Reckon I do.  They are all our neighbors.  Even those people over yonder with the Yankee license plates, they’s our neighbors.”  Gladys leaned from the back seat over the front to see the big yellow Cadillac with Vermont license plate. 

“You mean those people over there with the Varmint license plate are our neighbors?  You know the capital of Varmint is Montecatipillar and their state bird is the Hermet Crab, no that ain’t right, it’s the Hermet Rush.  And my teacher says that the whole state would fit in our county with room to spare.”
Trooper Bob rolled down his window spit his chaw from his jaw and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.  “That right?  Well I Suwanee.” 

When you grow up in the south people waving at you from passing cars and talking to you in supermarket lines is common, but where Gladys now lived it was an anomaly.   This was just a fact.  If someone honked it wasn’t to say Howdy unless you start Howdy with and F and end it with a you.  Everyone always seemed to be in a rush to get to the next red light where they would rev their engines and try to beat one another to the next light.  It was all very confusing for Gladys who grew up in a friendly state. 

Gladys as usual grabbed her reusable grocery bags, her big glass of water, no bottles for her, and headed out to run her usual errands.   Even though she lived in this particular town for almost a decade she rarely saw anyone she knew, not even her sister Matilda.  Nope she normally went about her day speaking only to the salespeople or giving an occasional nod to a stranger in line at the grocery only to be turned away with a grimace or a growl.  She had become accustomed to the surly harried state of most people; but decided not to let it influence her she smiled and went her own way.   
Lately, she had noticed a change in some of the people in her town.  They were almost friendly.  She noticed that they would often wave at her while she drove past them.  They would make a point to put a hand out their window and wave with their whole hand and not just a single middle finger.  She would happily wave back thinking “now this is how it should be”.   She noticed more and more that when she took certain routes and saw certain vehicles they would wave.  Gladys smiled and thought maybe she did know these people.  Perhaps she had met them at a party or a dinner but quickly dismissed that thought as she remembered she didn’t go to parties. 

One morning as Gladys pulled from the drugstore parking lot and onto a busy thoroughfare a woman in a Jeep stopped and let her out into traffic.   Gladys, being raised to always be gracious, stuck her hand out the window and waved a big THANK YOU wave.  She lumbered down the street in her little Jeep Wrangler and pulled up to a red light where a man in a Jeep Renegade beeped his horn and waved.  It was then it dawned on Gladys, the people who waved at her were always Jeep drivers.  They would beep and wave and let you in or out of traffic.  They moved over so you could fit into parking spaces, instead of straddling the line. 

Gladys contemplated this as she drove into the post office.  What made Jeep drivers nicer than others?   Then it struck her.  The only answer she could come up with.  Jeep drivers were from the south.  So to all my fellow Southern Jeepers who hail from Bangor, Maine or Providence, Rhode Island, Chicago or Montecatipillar, Varmint, you must have a little bit of Southern in you because when you get behind the wheel of your vehicle you let your Southern show.  In the words of Trooper Bob, we’s all neighbors, so wave and say Howdy as you go by.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


We’ve all been there, too long without sun.  You put on your favorite shorts and you realize people are putting on their sunglasses to block out the glare from your overly white legs.  Jill Conner Browne,THE Sweet Potato Queen, once wrote that brown fat is much more attractive than white fat, and if you think about it, it is true.  Uncooked bacon is white and gross but cooked bacon is brown , crispy and deliciously attractive.

  So it goes with our friend Gladys.  She too believes brown fat much more attractive but when you’ve been told to stay out of the sun, what’s a girl to do?

Not wishing to be blinding in shorts Gladys decided she would venture into the realm of self-tanners.   She researched and researched to find one that would be A. easy to use and 2. not messy and of course C. didn't stink.  Finally settling on L’OrĂ©al tanning towelettes she read the directions and followed them to a T.  She brushed the dry skin from her body with a horse hair brush,  shaved the hair from her legs, and exfoliated to the point her skin tingled until she finally deemed her skin prepared.  She applied Vaseline to her hands so as not to have orangish palms and started as the directions stated from the bottom wiping upwards in steady and even strokes.  She swiped and wiped and covered all the parts of her transparently white body in the hopes that she would look as if she had just returned from several weeks in St. Tropez.  Then just as the instructions directed Gladys stood naked waiting for it to dry.  Thinking that it would speed up the drying phase of the project she maneuvered her tanning body to the fan in a Frankenstein gait and assumed a crucifixal stance.  She oscillated to dry evenly to make sure that her vacationish tan would be consistent and look “real”.
Gladys waited twenty minutes and looked down at what should now be tan legs.  She inspected her arms but it did not appear anything had happened.  There was no bronze glow.  She did not appear to have spent one minute on a sunny beach in the Caribbean much less a month.  No all she saw was her still blinding white legs and raw chicken colored arms.  

 Disappointed and confused she went back and read the box.  Quick and convenient, smooth and even application it said.  Unique self-tanning formula applies easily and dries quickly.  Surely thirty minutes should be enough drying time she thought.  She opened another packet and withdrew another towelette.  She applied another layer to her arms, legs and torso and because a little is good but more is better she went over her body a second time.  Again she Frankenstein walked to the fan and stood arms outstretched waiting for magic to happen.  Ten minutes passed and she could tell no difference.  Twenty minutes passed and again no change except her skin appeared a little pink but she figured after all the scrubbing, rubbing and shaving it had a right to be pink.  Thirty minutes passed and again she saw no visible results. 

Gladys decided that it must be her skin type.  She tanned beautifully in the sun but must not react to self-tanners.  She gave up and put on her uniform of the day, yoga pants and tank top, and settled into her normal pattern of life, tan-less and vacation-less. 

Several hours later she answered the call of nature and upon washing her hands she noticed a definite change in her coloring.  Excited she stepped into the living room where the light is brighter.  She rolled her Capri up her leg and inspected the now garish orange of her extended leg.  Oh no!  She pulled the other leg up for inspection, it too has turned an Oompa loompa-ish color.  She shucked her clothes and inspected the rest of her once transparently white body.  She let out a disappointed sigh and realizing she was now the color of iodine.  It looked as if she has bathed in Betadine and forgot to rinse it off. 

She put her clothes back on and resigned herself to the fact that the next week maybe two she will be a freakish color of orange which would fade to a freakish babyshit yellow and then  white as snow.  The color is only temporary she told herself.

She propped her feet upon the ottoman as the sun glinted in on her from the window behind.  She looked at her legs and tried to convince herself that it wasn’t really that bad.  Orange is the new black, right?  That’s when she saw it.  There were white lines that traveled up her calf not just one but numerous white streaks and blotches.  OH MY GAWD,  WHITE BLOTCHES in her Oompa LOompa Tan.  It is much too much to handle.  She ripped off her clothes and jumped in the shower complete with Brillo pad and Comet scrubing the ugly orange skin from her body to no avail; all she accomplishes is to come out smelling like a clean toilet with very raw skin. 

Gladys once again read the directions on the box and realized she will just have to admire her orange fat and maybe make application at the candy factory.
In the mean time if you are looking for an Oompa Loompa I happen to know where you can find one. 
Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do
I have a perfect puzzle for you
Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-dee
If you are wise, you'll listen to me
What do you get when you try to look tan?
Wiping and swiping with a towlette in your hand
You don’t end up looking like one of the Coppertone Clan?
What do you do next is try to make yourself look bland.