Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ode to the Dandelion

Oh spontaneous spring
Golden blooms not sown
Awaken by blossoming
Absent then grown
Fair to behold in God’s own field
But their flower in mine elicits a groan
Oh the weapons I wield
When seeds are blown
Onto my lawn
Happier, if to the neighbor’s they’d flown
Where they battle with brawn
Not Weed-B-Gone
Oh wretched dandelion
You ruined my Zion!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What Odor is your Transgression?

The other day I was wondering where breaking the Word of Wisdom ranks among the “thou shalt nots”. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(LDS) I believe in keeping the Word of Wisdom (WoW) which forbids coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco. It’s not that the forbidden hold any interest for me, I was just wondering. Like when you’re little and you wonder if you can jump off the garage roof without injury. (Answer: Usually, unless it’s the neighbor’s taller garage and your knee hits you in the mouth.)

When compared to the Big Ten, it seems like the WoW might be commandment 9.5, right between lying and coveting. Not the most serious in my book, but bad enough to keep you out of paradise. A “friend of a friend” keeps a pack of cigarettes in his glove box. If he feels the inkling of an impending church assignment he asks the Bishop to go for a ride and then asks for a map—strangely, no calling ever comes.

By the smell, everyone knows when someone has been smoking. To demonstrate our collective error we often shun someone who has so obviously transgressed—but what if every sin had a unique odor? I know it would make Bishop’s interviews easy. “What’s that I smell Brother Green, a hint of pornography?” The Bishop could schedule appointments just by walking the hallway with an appointment book. “Sister Smith, I smell that you’ve been gossiping again, can you meet me on Wednesday? Brother Jones, I detect the scent of stealing, how’s 8:00?”

What if we had the power to assign an odor to each of the Commandments? Thou Shalt Not Kill would be easy, it would smell like a rotting carcass—I can’t think of a worse smell. Adultery (fornication, pornography, etc.) would smell nearly as bad, perhaps like a pig farm. Stealing would smell like a skunk, Sabbath breaking would smell like a swamp, and so on.

My point is that we all sin—but some sins aren’t as odoriferous as others. But just in case, I’m using Irish Spring in the shower today and looking for that 16-year-old bottle of cologne that I bought before I was married. That should do it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meet me in Hell

The last few weeks I’ve been substitute teaching in my son’s Sunday school class. Yesterday the kindly Sunday School President stopped by and invited me to a meeting after church. I explained that since I’m not a “real” teacher my attendance was doubtful. You see, there are few things that I hate more than meetings. Had Joseph Smith lived longer he would have added a 14th Article of Faith stating: “We believe the Ten Tribes choose to remain lost until such as time as meetings are removed from the earth. We also believe that when the earth receives its paradisiacal glory the meeting will have no more power over the hearts of men. We further believe the only thing better than a well-planned meeting is no meeting at all. ”

I live this pretend Article of Faith better than most of the real ones. I’ll gladly help with anything you ask (even teaching 13-year-olds) just don’t make me go to a meeting. The very mention of the word “meeting” fills my entire being with revulsion and my nights with terror. One meeting I’m still seeing a therapist over involved region sports. During the meeting one of Satan’s minions hijacked the meeting for about 20 minutes complaining that he wasn’t able to get email addresses for every Stake President in his region. After all, how can we attain salvation without these email addresses?

It took every ounce of self-control I had to keep from raising my hand and asking “does anyone else here give a damn about the addresses?” By the stupefied expressions on their faces I know that the rest of the attendees did not. I did all in my power to “encourage” the moderator to move forward. I tried talking, playing games on my phone and finally resorted to using exaggerated hand signals for “move on” or “wrap it up” (picture the guy with the red flashlights that directs airplanes to their proper location—that was me). All to no avail. This guy wouldn’t stop and the moderator would not move on.

I was contemplating drastic measures. I thought about tightening my tie enough to cause me to pass out. “Now Brother (I wish I could remember his real name because I would use it here) look what your talking has done, you've killed Brother Jones.” Just before I could enact my plan “he who cannot be named” stopped talking and the meeting ended. I ran to my car and have never returned. Twenty fanatical home teachers could not drag me back.

A few years ago the Church asked us to hold fewer meeting so that we could have more family time. One bishop scheduled a meeting with all of his ward leaders to discuss . . . having fewer meetings—I don’t think he got the concept.

If I’m ever captured by corporate spies trying to learn the secret family butter-mint recipe, I’ll withstand waterboarding, bamboo shoots and beatings . . .but if they mention the word “meeting”—well, a guy can only stand so much.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dress Like a Man (Mansense)

In this age where there is significant confusion around gender appropriate clothing I thought I’d write to offer men some help in selecting an appropriate wardrobe. If you consider yourself fashionable or stylish, please stop reading now--this column is not for you. If you worry about your skin, hair or teeth—stop reading now because you are a metrosexual--a fancy word for sissy. When I went to school, wearing earrings, or dyeing or shaving your body hair would get you beat up. I like to think that there are still places where this could happen—maybe in Wyoming.

OK, on to my fashion advice, let’s start with hats. Wear them. Except of course in places where it’s not appropriate to wear hats (really just church). Hats hide receding hairlines and keep you from having to shower as often. For example, if you’ve been in the yard splitting logs all morning and suddenly your wife (real men have wives not “significant others”) reminds you that you have a meeting with the bishop in five minutes, you can just put on a clean hat and you’re good to go (unless you’re meeting at the church). If you are meeting at the church it’s time to demonstrate (again) that you can shower and dress in less time than it takes Mrs. Wonderful to choose the right color Shade shirt to go under her peasant blouse (I’ve no idea what that is).

All hat styles are appropriate except for berets. It’s a little known historical fact that in 1940 the French economy was in a recession. The French thought that by inviting Germans to their country they could sell more berets and lift the country to prosperity. Unfortunately, the Germans stayed but did not buy any berets until 1944 when the Americans asked them to either buy berets or leave the country. They left France without purchasing any berets (and so should you).

There is of course an exception to the rule. If you are in the Army Special Forces (AKA Green Berets) you can wear berets all the time, even to church.

Man shirts can have either long or short sleeves but they must have sleeves. No matter what Richard Simmons says, ripping the sleeves off of your t-shirt does not make you look tough, cool, or manly. It makes you look like you received your diploma from a beer can. Man shirts come in blue, green, white, red, tan, brown and black. Women’s shirts come in colors like hot pink, tangerine, heather and salmon. Helpful hint: If the name of the color has more than one syllable then it’s women’s clothing.

Neckties are appropriate for many occasions (really just church). The main purpose of the necktie is to draw attention away from your stomach. The larger the stomach, the wider the tie must be. If you’re going to have the 2000 calorie triple Whopper for lunch then just add a couple of inches to the width of your tie and no one will notice the extra weight. Bowties are iffy, kind of like lusting in your heart. It’s wrong but not THAT wrong. Wear with care.

Pants are worn ON the hips and should be long enough to touch the ground. Man pants come in black, khaki, navy or denim. In a disturbing trend I’ve noticed a few so called men wearing “manlottes” which appear to be women’s culottes (the French again?) in a “plus” size. Avoid this. Some men think “gaucho” rhymes with “macho”, making gaucho pants OK. It doesn’t and it’s not—ever. You can wear shorts (which must end at the knee) or you can wear pants (end at the floor) anything in between is for the fairer sex. If your shorts extend below the knee you must hike them up to avoid the appearance of femininity.

Socks are optional, but if worn, must be dark or white--no fancy colors. Since no one thinks hairy toes are attractive it’s best to wear closed toe shoes—but it’s your choice. If you’re comfortable with your hobbit toes, go ahead and wear manly sandals, just don’t shave the hobbit hair that’s supposed to be there.

Finally, when purchasing new clothes keep this rule in mind: if an article of clothing sounds French, has pleats, or comes in bubblegum, day-glow yellow, or ultra teal—ask the sales clerk to direct you to the real men’s clothing department.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

40 Bottles of Goo

When I woke up this morning, my bathroom countertop seemed cluttered. To see why, I inventoried the items stored there. At this moment there are more than 40 containers on my bathroom countertop. The “0” after the “4” is not a typo, the number is 40 and that excludes toothpaste, mouthwash and hand soap (the things that are “mine”).

So you’re thinking to yourself: “What’s in all those other bottles, tubes and cans?” Since I didn’t know myself, I read some of the labels. One of the tubes is marked “Body Soufflé” ─sounds kinky but I think it has something to do with cannibalism. “Here honey, let me rub some soufflé on your back.” Good thing I’m a light sleeper.

While inspecting the abundant tubes covering the counter I noticed that there are different moisturizing lotions for the hands, feet, face, elbows, and shoulders. I shudder to think what would happen if you accidentally mixed up the tubes and applied hand lotion to your face. Would little fingerprint lines suddenly appear? If so, there is a tube on the counter that hides lines.

In keeping with the Soufflé theme, there is also a can of mousse. To be honest, I know what mousse is for─ hiding receding hairlines. At least that’s what I use it for. There, it’s out in the open, I admit it, my hairline is receding. It’s an Oprah moment. My hairline is gradually retreating. If there were as many women as men with receding hairlines, Oprah would rally her viewers to march on Washington D.C. to demand Congress fund the search for a cure. Men just use mousse to comb the hair that’s left, “over”.

There is also a tube I’ve not tried labeled “Age Defying Cream.” I want to know if it will help shrink my age-expanding gut or restore my youthful hairline. Somehow I doubt it. I think this potion is used to treat the age lines (wrinkles) that my wife absolutely does not have, anywhere, at all.

In conclusion, I don’t know what most of these tubes and bottles are for (Nor how much they cost). But the application of these lotions and potions keeps my wife looking tan, fit, young, smooth, soft, rejuvenated and sensual—and who can complain about that?