of gods and goddess…

“Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking, mad or well-advised?
Known unto these, and to myself disguised?
I’ll say as they say, and persever so,
And in this mist at all adventures go.”

― William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors


(statue of Thalia, 2nd century / The Vatican Museum / Rome, Italy)

Thalia, the Greek Goddess of comedy, was the 8th of 9 muses and was one of the
many daughters of the Greek God Zeus.
Most scholars credit Zeus with having 92 children…
so I’m not exactly certain as to where Thalia
rates on the favorite list but seeing that she was in charge of comedy and all things happy,
she was probably a favorite daddy’s girl…
but I digress.

And as the goddess of comedy and poetry, her very name, which translates to flourishing,
referenced that her gifts would flourish through the ages…

However today, I am actually wondering more about the Goddess Moron…

As in I just know that with all those gods and goddesses,
throughout all of the mythology we had to learn in school,
surely there was one named Moron…
Who, might I add, was responsible for stupidity…..
As in, moron being a word that translates to idiot, dunce, blockhead…
as in…
well, I’m sure everyone gets where’s this is all going.

Shakespeare first introduced us to the notion of a comedy of errors with his
play of the same name.
Yet over the years the ‘catch phrase’ came to mean something that was to be
“made amusing by bungling and incompetence.”

So when we say something is a comedy of errors, we mean it is a situation
that is one of idiocy, most likely caused by the Goddess Moron, or at least by a
dunce or idiot acting like a moron who has
demonstrated a certain level of incompetence or bungling…

So during my arduous ride home today on the burgeoning Atlanta interstate system,
the same interstate system that is now bursting at the seams due to the massive interstate closure
as a result of last week’s fire and road collapse,
I found myself pondering the notion of writing a book.

I think it will be entitled, My life, a comedy of errors
but that title may already be taken…
so….how about…
“Wait and let ME do that…so you can learn from my incompetence”
I’ll use the pen name Goddess Moron.
If Dana Elaine Owens can rename herself Queen Latifah, I, Julie Cook can rename myself
the Goddess Moron.

Makes perfect sense.

And why all this self deprecation you wonder….
Well, I’m so glad you asked…

Have you ever had to go to your town or city’s courthouse to get official paperwork?

A nightmare, I know…..

And if so, you may understand that such a visit is a matter of hoop jumping.

Due to the interstate closures and downtown now being impenetrable, you have to go
to the northern city’s annex.
A building built in the late 60’s that has never had an update or remodeling experience.

You arrive, along with thousands of others who had the same brilliant thought as yourself…
show up on a Thursday cause it seemed like a good idea…

You have to park in an overflow lot that is down by a dumpster and a sea of kudzu
and busted asphalt.
Winded after hiking up from the pawpaw patch,
you enter through a set of double glass doors covered with all sorts of warning signs.

A guard greets you…but….
no one smiles and babies are crying.
There is an odor.
Stale, smokey, bodyish…odors
There are guards and deputies staring you down as you fret that by the way you
are standing could just possibly land you in the pokey.
It’s that serious.

You stand in a long line just to get a ticket to stand in another line and
to be able to simply ask a question…
Asking a question of a person behind a bullet proof glass.
There is a small hole that you can speak through as well as listen through.
You tell her you’re here to probate your dad’s will.
“Oh you’re in the wrong place, you need to be upstairs”

Relieved to leave the sea of waiting humanity, you go outside and walk up the sidewalk
to the “top floor.”
Here another guard tells you to go to the last room down the hall on the right.
The sea of humanity waiting in the hallway is a key clue as to you being in the right spot.

Here is where people buy marriage licenses, gun carry permits as they gather
copies of officially filed identifying papers, probate wills, etc….

You sign in on the sheet sitting on the counter, in the cramped little office,
while the nonplused woman working the other side of the counter tells you to sign in,
go sit down somewhere and not to crowd the counter…
and oh, she’s locking the doors at 1:00 until 2PM for lunch…
You look down at your watch, it’s 12:20.

She processes two of the sea of waiting folks when the magic number 1:00 strikes.
She clears the office telling those waiting inside to go out in the hall and wait with
the others until 2:00.
She locks the door.

You have all your papers in a nice folder sitting on your lap.
You have the check ready for the $200 processing fee.
Your cousin had actually come to meet you and help out but after leaving the first office of
humanity, you thank him, telling him that he is free and needs to go back to work—
because only one from the family should remain in servitude to the system.
You now make nice conversations with your fellow waiters….or is that waitees?

The bell for 2:00PM sounds and the nonplused woman returns and unlocks the door.
She is alone today and mad.
Her supervisor failed to show up for work, leaving her alone to tend to the sea of humanity.
You think that maybe she should now be supervisor.

You hear a few folks fussing, as they walk past you into the adjacent courtroom,
complaining that “if 3 million people voted for her, why did we get him”….
It registers in your brain that you know what they’re talking about and you just
shake your head while you hear another voice screaming in your head that if the man
could just do his job maybe, just maybe,
this whole sea of waiting humanity might not have to wait so long
and that perhaps some of the idiotic bureaucracy could finally be dealt with…
finally allowing this bureaucratic nightmare,
that is morphing into the monster we have created into this thing we call government…
but that screaming voice in your head is now apologizing for digressing…

All of this while new folks file into the cramped office to sign the sheet…
with the nonplused woman behind the counter telling everyone she is closeing the
office at 4PM and everyone will have come back in the morning at 8:30.
A newcomer asks is she’ll pick up where she left off on the list the following day.
“No” she answers flatly, “it’s a new day”…

Finally the sweet little lady, who has been sitting by you this entire time,
has her name called.
She just needed a $10 copy of proof guardianship for her now 22 year old granddaughter
for a college scholarship—
never mind the college has three copies already on file–
she needed another new one…

As you continue waiting, you rather mindlessly and nonchalantly look down,
for the millionth time, at the letter from your lawyer sitting on your lap.
You have the packet she sent to present to the court,
you made certain you had the death certificates,
you had the check ready to be filled out…
you had proof of ID…
but wait….
the will…
where is the will?????

You feel your cheeks burning.
Your stomach flips over.
There is a pain now drilling deep into your temples.
You live an hour and a half away…
You’ve waited almost three hours….
You feel as if you’re having an outer body experience.
You are not allowed to ask any questions until your name is called.
Do you keep sitting, waiting, just to ask if you need the hard copy
of the will in order
to probate the will???

Seems like a no brainer.

You get up from your now well worn chair…
you silently leave your fellow waitees…
making your way back down to the dumpster, busted asphalt, kudzu and your car.

You feel hot tears rolling down your cheeks.
A nice man passes you on the sidewalk…
he sees your tears as he kindly and somewhat knowingly smiles.

When suddenly out of nowhere…
you hear a familiar shrill and overtly heavily ladened southern
laced voice opine…..
“Well fiddledeedee, tomorrow is another day”

Thankful for the wisdom from the southern goddess Scarlett…
you make your way back to the sea of cars on the interstate
ready to come back and do this all over again….another day….

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;
whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap
a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:7-10

O Lord, I need to laugh. . .

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

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(image courtesy the web)

With the weight of winter crushing down on this weary mind and body, as our schools are closed once again for a snow day with nary a white flake on the ground, ok maybe there’s a patch of black ice or two here and there, what with the nightly news doling out ominous warnings upon grim and dire global stories. . . it has dawned on me that I am in desperate need of a good dose of humor, laughter, joy!!!

Some people wrongly believe that God is without a funny bone—that He sits about playing, well, God, exacting punishments while issuing the squadrons of the “serious police” as He sends them down to nip any and all fun, humor or even joy in the bud. . .I for one know that is far from the truth.

Now I’m not talking about vile, malicious, sick or twisted humor that comes at the expense of any one of us—as I find much of the “humor” that our entertainment industry rolls around on the ground over as sophomoric, stupid and belittling–possessing no redeeming value.

So this morning as I dutifully journeyed to the dark, cold, cavernous basement in order to engage in my hour of servitude , I mean healthy regime of weights and bobbing up and down on the elliptical, I found myself pondering the need for some laughter. . .

As if standing before some imaginary crowd, I found myself raising my hand, with the childlike exuberance of “pick me, pick me” as I have volunteered, taking one for the team, as I to try find you and I a little something to, if not laugh over, at least enjoy a good chuckle, guffaw or chortle.

I picked my brain over what we could laugh about.
As humans, our usual go to area of prosaic conversation, when we find nothing at hand to actually discuss, is of course the weather–but truly, I think we are all certainly over the weather. . .

I then moved on to current events—again, over that. . .

We could discuss health. . .that’s a topic we all tend to like to discuss especially as we age. . .as in my 86 year old dad seems to relish in telling me things that scream of TMI–too much, way too much, information. . .with me wailing “Daaaaaaddddddd, please!!!”

And whereas I don’t think I really want to chat about IBS, sinuses, osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy, or any other malady plaguing this aging body of mine. . .I continued to pick my brain in search of the elusive idea of humor on this wearisome cold, grey winters day.

Looking around, taking in my duty-drudge filled “workout” area of the basement, I decide I’ve finally hit upon something of interest.
I have decided that compression tights are what we shall discuss today as they are now my go to in the wardrobe department.
“What?”
Yes, compression tights.

Nike-Element-Shield-Womens-Running-Tights-381052_013_A_PREM
(image courtesy Nike)

Please note that this is not, I repeat, not my body—only in my dreams. . .

You know, the black things people put on to run or work out in. . .
But why should we stop there. . .at merely something to put on during exercise and physical activity?!
Forget spanx or other “suck um up” undies, compression tights are where it’s at.

I can remember as a little girl seeing my mom’s girdle sitting on the bathroom counter wondering as to what in the world this torturesque contraption was that my mom counted as part of her daily dressing ritual. Was I too to look forward to donning a girdle one day, I fretted as I imagined myself passing from childhood to training bras, eventually to girdles. . .As the idea of women forcing tight contraptions onto their bodies, or actually forcing their bodies into said contraptions, as in a need to suck up, reign in, tighten up and conceal, seemed to be a centuries old issue and quest that was now sadly staring at my 8 year old self.

1960-girdles
(vintage Montgomery ward advertisement)

Fast forwarding back to the current moment at hand, I now faced my own issue of sucking up and sucking in, as I stared at my tights. My mind suddenly racing back to the scene in Gone With the Wind with Mammy cinching up Scarlett’s corset as Scarlett was bound and determined to sport that girlish 17 inch waist of hers both before and after pregnancy.

corsets-gwtw
(before said pregnancy)

greenvelvetrobe1
(after said pregnancy)

Now mind you, I don’t ever recall having a 17 inch waist. . . but my thighs, well, they’re a different story. . .And sadly I fear, these thighs of mine are certainly bigger than 2 of Scarlett’s waists put together, or so it feels. . .hence this new love of tights of mine.

Have you ever put on a pair of compression tights?
These are not your run of the mill average pair of hose, stockings or tights. . .these are serious when it comes to compression–meaning a decrease in volume. . .as in the volume of my thighs. . .

You start by putting on one leg in at a time, because that’s certainly all you’ll have strength to lift up, one leg at a time. . .
Working the tights up over the ankles is a piece of cake, the calves are also fairly easy. . it’s just past the knee cap where the trouble begins.

Twisting, contorting, hopping, jumping, falling over, pulling up while pushing fat down–precariously placing the second leg in the 2 inch opening. How can a 36(which in now more like a 38), 26 (which is now more like a 30), 36 (which by God better still be a 36) fit into a 2 opening? Have you ever found yourself falling over, half naked onto the cold bathroom floor, with your legs hopelessly trapped in the confines of a pair of tights–tights that were made for the likes of either Twiggy or a Barbie doll?! You find yourself hoping that you don’t suddenly die so as to ensure that no one should ever come home finding you dead, with your bare bottom exposed pointing upward as your head is plastered on the cold tile floor while both legs resemble a large black pretzel. Somehow I’m thinking a 55 year old woman is not meant to contort her body in this sort of fashion.

Now pulling up with all of ones strength, doing good not to hear any sort of tearing or popping, you begin attempting to get your butt pushed down, while continuing lifting the tights upward. Up and over your bottom, squeezing and wiggling while you now work to squeeze your stomach into the ever shrinking black spandex on steroids fabric.

Once in, you proceed to push and pull, adjusting the areas that are now pinching every ounce of said body fat. Not one to ever think thong underwear was a good idea, I get a sudden uncomfortable feeling that the crotch area of the tights is now going places it is not normally meant to travel. Pulling and adjusting a bit more, I finally think I’m all in as nothing has split, burst or popped open.
WHEW! I now attempt to breathe.

There!
I am heard to triumphantly exclaim to both cats as if I have just accomplished some miraculous feat. Somehow their blank expressions do not match my feeling of jubilation.
Pausing to look in the mirror, I joyously think that I am now a lean, mean, slim and svelte fighting machine. Take that Scarlett O’Hara!

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Which now leaves one question begging to be answered. . .were does it go? The fat. I mean, where does all that excessive me go, where is it pushed and squished off to???
This lingering thought as I suddenly wonder if I’m not looking a bit more buxom than before—hummmm.
Then as if a ton of bricks, it hits me, the urgent calling to the loo. . . I think I need to go the bathroom otherwise I’ll be wetting these freshly pulled on tights of mine.
UGH!
Remember women of a certain age have less than trustworthy bladders. . .one allergy ridden sneeze, one croupish cough and me and these tights are one wet mess!

Which brings me back to the thought of our needing a good laugh- – -at this point, it may not be advisable for me to offer up said laugh as I wish to remain dry as I am now poured into these tights—which means, our quest for laughter may have to come later, as I am once again reminded of those immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day. . .

scarlet-ohara