Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Can Dress Me Up & Take Me Out, But That Doesn't Mean I'll Be Happy About It (With A Random Emily Dickinson Reference To Class It Up)

A few days ago, one of my students told me that I was turning into a modern-day Emily Dickinson, and I fear that he was right. I have developed such an aversion to The Public that I cannot go Out There without being cataclysmically...affected.

Let's just say that, shall we?

Rick and I went to The Great Big Home & Garden Expo! (formerly known as The Home and Garden Show but so much more of a bigass deal now that it deserves more adjectives and an ampersand), primarily because we had free tickets, but also because we were lured by the prospect of escaping the eleventy inches of snow on the ground and the idea of seeing actual flowers and trees in bloom. Sadly, all of NE Ohio had the exact same idea, and we were shocked to see people actually standing in long snaky lines of more than a hundred just to walk through a pretend house.

I was similarly stunned to see that "Great Big Home and Garden" also meant several identical booths of meat jerky, fake pashminas, and powdered dip mixes. As we wandered through this incredible bazaar of the bizarre, I started to feel more and more as if I were on some alien planet. Come with me:

It started on our way in. I saw a woman in a bouffant hairdo clutching a sign of plasticized cardboard. It was about 18"X18" and had metal prongs on it so that it could stick in her yard. She looked positively enraptured. It was clear that this sign was a Major Score for her. On it, in bold, black capital letters were two words, one atop the other: KING JESUS.I was immediately befuddled. What would be the purpose of this sign? If it were in the imperative, a command, how could someone do that? That would take a mighty big checker, number one, and number two, with Jesus being the Almighty and all, isn't He pretty darn capable of kinging Himself? If it were merely declarative, well, then, okay... Now what? If she puts it in her yard, then is she saying that He lives at her house, or what? It's not very interactive like, say, "HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS." And the odds of her having a Jesus statue with Him wearing a crown and her saying, "Damn, I really need a sign that indicates who the hell this is" just seem remote, don't they? I just don't get it. I mean, kudos for minimalism and all, but really, what's the deal? And honestly, let's say you're driving down the highway and see a house with that sign in the yard; what's your reaction? See what I mean? Later, Rick and I saw the booth in the Expo where the sign was being sold. It was a tiny booth with a bunch of "inspirational" signs, all on the same material, all black letters, all meant to be used outside. I still don't get it.

One booth made me do a double-take and made my stomach do a backflip. I have no idea what the guy was selling, but in front of him on a counter were feet, human feet--all cross-sectioned to look like they had been dissected. Suddenly, the man took a huge forkful from behind them and put it into his mouth and started chewing. My eyes flew open wider and I almost gagged. As we hurried past, I had to turn around and look more closely. The feet were plastic models, thank goodness, and he was eating a taco salad that he had placed behind the row of them. But still, it wasn't until we reached the Patio Enclosures booth that I realized that I had been holding my breath for more than a minute.

Almost equally disturbing were the Booths Of Vibrating Devices. It is important to note that both times I passed these booths, the Devices were being...sampled by men. One of the Devices was a sort of vibrating balancing board. The men on them were standing wide-legged and simply vibrating. A LOT. With an intense look on their faces that could best be described as...(send the children away) pre-orgasmic. The same could be said for the men on the chairlike Device which actually had a sort of...codpiece thingy that, well, let me just say that it looked like a carseat for grownups but it vibrated. A LOT. Again, the expression on the faces of the men was...heavily engaged. Rick offered to take photos/video with his cellphone for this post, but my gentle breeding (and my concern that there was no sign forbidding firearms in the Expo) forbid it.

Sometimes, the names of businesses are worthy of discussion. Rick pointed out Chip Painters. My favorite was Master Deck Builders, but they are not capitalizing on their name. I wanted desperately to give them a makeover. I envisioned them all wearing black, for starters. Then, I wanted them all to wear menacing black hobnail boots like these. Better yet, how about the boots that Gene Simmons from Kiss wears? Okay, maybe too much. Anyway, then, I think they should have a whip coiled up and hanging from a big, studded, black leather belt. Now those would be some Master Deck Builders!

When we had walked the entire Expo and had seen quite enough--of everything--Rick and I decided to go. I had worked titanically hard at behaving myself and it had taken a toll: I was exhausted. Not once had I remarked (loudly enough to be heard) regarding awful/clever spelling (Custom Decks by Klassic--Proffesional Builders!), nor had I said Word One about the number of people who behaved as if pushing a stroller made them immune to the Rules Of Common Courtesy.

That's what I have the Dept. for.


  1. Oh man - we must be sisters! My husband is afraid to take me out to places where there will be PEOPLE. And your observations are spot on - people are strange. I loved the King Jesus sign - I'll have to share that one with my husband. We're from the south, so this is actually a pretty common type of sign for us to see.

  2. Hee, I wonder how they get the paint to stick to nacho cheese Doritos. Must be tedious work. When I first saw "Master Deck Builders," I thought of Power Rangers or Masters of the Universe. It would be really annoying to have them out there bouncing around the deck frame kicking and flipping and wielding power tools instead of getting down to real work.

    What did Alecia say about Biden and Cheney goin' at it?

  3. Whew, I thought it was just ME with this growing phobia. Jebus, it's scary out there these days! I've decided to go entirely with Liberal Elitism, where I'm at least in good company with the likes of Jane Austen and you, dear; I'm just not built for populism.

  4. I am so with you on the strollers. Having a child on wheels does not make you special. It makes you annoying. At least the baby in the stroller has the decently to look shocked and apologetic as it gets bulldozed through a crowd. The little face seems to say, "So sorry about this. If I could drive this thing, I promise this would be the last place I would be."

  5. When I read your sentence with the phrase "heavily engaged," at first I thought you had written "Heavenly engaged." King Jesus on the brain, I guess. Too much snow on the ground, too.

  6. Did you at least get to see Ty Pennington? I wonder if he is as nice as he is on TV or if he's a huge disappointment like Paula Dean.

  7. Forgot to say, such an excellent Emily mural. I guess with the garden show, After great pain a formal feeling came. Or there is a flower that bees prefer, but it did not kindly stop for you. Or Flowers--well, if anybody/Can the ecstasy define--you missed the ecstasy.

  8. sputnik--I loved the Emily Mural also. I found it image-searching La Google, and it came up several times. It's been used a lot, and I have no idea of its original provenance. And thanks for noticing Alecia. Isn't she a stitch? I hope she bites Darth Cheney's head off, though she probably wouldn't stoop to his level.

    Nina--We purposely arrived much later than Ty's scheduled appearance to TRY to avoid the crowds. HA. I used to like him way back when he did the early design show Trading Spaces as a lowly carpenter. Now, I just find him annoying, and that horrid show Makeover Something is a pathetic weepfest. He's too manic for me.

    Melissa B.--Oh, did you get snow? Funny, no one's mentioned it. ;-)

    J.--Isn't it hilarious how so many of these SuperParents with the Urban Assault Strollers act as if THEY ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE TO EVER HAVE CHILDREN--WAIT, NO--EVER HAVE THE MESSIAH(S).You should have seen the number of parents who tried to maneuver their HemiStrollers onto garden paths about 15" wide, clogged with people, and while desperately Blackberrying. It was HEINOUS. I wanted a machine gun to, in the words of Dickens' Scrooge 'reduce the surplus population.' Honestly, if those individuals could have gotten away with bringing their Designer Labradoodles and Puggles, they would have hauled them in there too.

    The Other Nance--You know, I think there's nothing wrong with having a few rules. Like, if it's a Home and Garden show, the stuff should be Home and Garden. I know people can EAT jerky and dip in both those places, but come on. And I think it's okay to be a bit elitist. Especially if that means HAVING SOMEONE PROOFREAD YOUR SIGN. You're a dear to include me in your circle of friends, and I accept. I'll bring dip. No jerky. (Or jerks.)

    The Bug--Really? People put KING JESUS signs in their yards? Can you tell me why? And what was your first reaction when you saw one? I am positively floored by this. Do they put it in front of a Jesus statue? I feel very naive right now.
    But a little bit grateful, too.

  9. King Jesus! *snort* Some people just go overboard.

  10. I once had a date tell me I reminded him of Emily Dickinson. He didn't intend the statement as a compliment but a dig. Foolish man. Last date.

  11. V-Grrrl--Hey, at least he knew who Miss Emily WAS! He had THAT goin' for him, so at least you were in the Right Dating Pool at the time. But you made a good decision. (Not that you need me to tell you that, dear.)

    apathy lounge--and not in a Good Way.

  12. Help me out here. Does Emily Litella make up the signs that Teabaggers carry at demonstrations?

    Here's one I'm sure she had a hand in.


    I'm going to start going to their
    meetings with a sign that says
    NEVER MIND....

  13. Nancy--Regardless of whether or not that was an actual teabagger sign--I'm guessing no--I like the idea of simply having a sign on my property that says "Never mind." It sure makes more sense to me than King Jesus!

  14. LMAO at so many things in this post and in comments. I think you entered the Bizzarro world or Twilight Zone or something at that expo. But, the truth is, so many themed expos end up with the most bizarre stuff or I should say bizarre junk ever. People will (it seems) buy just about anything. In a cruel turn of events, Mr. GFE and I ended up getting stuck in Hillsville VA on Labor Day weekend (en route to his college reunion). We had never even heard of Hillsville or its famous flea market. It took us an hour and a half to go 2 miles. There were no detours. They routed you right through the flea market. It was all crap and more crap, and strange, stupid stuff like you mention.

    Sometimes I think I could become a complete hermit and I agree with you on the Ty Pennington show. A person who I know who is a bit of a cold, snobby duck told me it's her favorite show. Really? And, strollers ... I had a small one with Son and almost never used it. It was just a violation of other people's space and a PITA. I see more people use strollers as package carriers these days.


  15. Shirley--"Hillsville." I could definitely riff on the name for a good long while in light of what you've told me, but I'll just behave.

  16. I just came here via your comment about men babysitting their own children on Red Stapler. (I love how you deal with that because it makes me blow a gasket when I hear it.) I'm loving your blog!!!

  17. Suzanne--Hi, and welcome to the Dept.! Thanks for the kind words and thanks so much for jumping in here. Hope you do it often, and hope you plunder the archives as well. I've had a lot to say about a lot of things since 2005. I'll sneak over to your space and see what you've got going on, too. (It's only fair...!)


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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