Oops, Alabama Did It Again…

Hi y’all. It’s time for your straight-from-the-state-where-it-happened political commentary on Judge Roy Moore. Because I’m here to make sure that you’re informed.

I know, I know – you’re all like,

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You’re welcome.

But by the end of this post, you may feel more like this.

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So this all picks up where our dear old Luv Guv left off. If you need a minute to refresh your memory as to that lovely highlight of 2017 Alabama politics, please do, as I provided you this fairytale guide earlier this year.

But here are the people you need to know for today’s story:

Grandpa Gov – our Viagra-flinging ex-governor.
New Gov – Kay Ivey, Grandpa Gov’s replacement, after we all read his vom-worthy texts with his girlfriend.
Strange – why do you need a nickname when your last name is strange? Oh but he does – he prefers to be called “Big Luther.” So let’s go with that.
Sesh – Good Ole’ Jeff Sessions – lest you forgot that all the delightfully crazy politicians came from Alabama.
And…..Ol’ Roy, who we will be discussing today.

Grandpa Gov, in an effort to escape from impeachment due to his nefarious activities related to his affair, promoted the state Attorney General Big Luther into the US Senate seat when Alabama’s Keebler Elf Senator Sesh got promoted to US Attorney General.

When Grandpa Gov resigned anyway (right before his impeachment and right right before his mugshot), New Gov said “You know what? Big Luther smells a bit too much like Grandpa Gov’s grubby boob-grabbing fingers. Let’s redo that whole Senate situation”, and called a special election so that the informed and intelligent voters of Alabama could choose their own senator.

Although I do not in any way think it was New Gov’s intention, this timing could not have been more perfect for Ol’ Roy. Because he had just gotten removed from his position of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, for the second time, for defying a higher court ruling, for the second time.

So clearly he was the ideal candidate to represent the fine people of Alabama in Washington DC. Think House of Cards while wearing a cowboy hat (which he wore, while riding a horse, to vote for himself in the primaries.)

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With me so far?

Alabama Senate Drama

Good.

Let’s back up a bit and talk about Ol’ Roy’s removals from office.

Ol’ Roy was elected the first time to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 2001. He immediately began plans to build a giant ten commandments monument in the rotunda of the courthouse. He’d had a mere wooden plaque in his former days as a Circuit Court (and had gotten sued over that), so a 5,280 pound block made out of tombstone guts seemed like an appropriate upgrade for his new digs.

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Now. I love Jesus, but this monument is cray. It’s like he asked the designer to fit every possible religious or patriotic tag line possible on it, including the National Anthem, the Declaration of Independence, quotes from the founding fathers, and of course, the Ten Commandments.

It’s basically the A.J. McCarron tattoo of monuments.

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(Non-Bama peeps: A.J. McCarron was a quarterback at Alabama. He married a supermodel. She obviously makes him keep his shirt on at all times.)

Please take a moment to read the amalgam of words on his chest. You won’t regret it – we can come back to Ol’ Roy when you’re done. Or better yet, read it like a second grader’s poetry assignment.

Bama Boy
Home Team
Ma, Pops
God – MVP – In Control
Gag
McCarron

I feel like I may be misreading one line in there but..I did my best.

Back to Ol’ Roy.

So two years pass with lawsuits, rulings, blah blah, Supreme Court of the United States, blah, appeals, blah, everyone agrees – Roy, you need to put that monument somewhere else. Not where everyone who enters the courthouse has to walk around it.

Basically, “AJ, I’m glad you love God and Ma and them, but for the love of all that is holy please put your shirt on.”

And, as one does, Moore announced his intention to defy the order. Because God. And why should he be a good example of respecting the rule of law to the people. He’s just the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.

But his brave stand against the evil courts created rallies and supports and speeches and doors being blockaded (as if someone was going to go in there and simply drag the two-ton monstrosity off.)

Now. Regardless of where you stand on the removal of monuments for various reasons, please remember – this is not some historical monument that has been happily and quietly sitting around for 200 years and is all of a sudden being condemned – this is Ol’ Roy’s very own unilaterally chosen two-and-a-half year old toddler monument.

But this is the hill he will die on – at least with the first of his many lives.

So finally, because he just defied The Supreme Court and the Appeals ruling and all that, they have no choice but to remove him from his seat.

So Ol’ Roy was out of a job.

He ran twice for Governor, both unsuccessfully. After losing in the primaries to Bob Riley, Ol’ Roy told supporters that “God’s will has been done”, but he wouldn’t call Riley to concede and refused to support Riley in the general election. But hey – who among us hasn’t pouted about God’s Will every now and then.

(p.s. – Riley was like the only Governor of Alabama’s that is not currently in jail or mugshotted. So he was like the best.)

After the whole Governor gig didn’t work out for him, Ol’ Roy ran again for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

And we voted him in again.

And it didn’t take him long to find his new Monument to stand on. After the US Supreme Court ruling on Same-Sex Marriage, Ol’ Roy sent letters out to all of the judges of Alabama, ordering them to disregard the ruling and enforce the state’s ban under threat of legal action.

…Which got him his second removal from office. For…

– Disregarding a federal injunction.
– Demonstrated unwillingness to follow clear law.
– Abuse of administrative authority.
– Substituting his judgment for the judgment of the entire Alabama Supreme Court, including failure to abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in his own court.
– Interference with legal process and remedies in the United States District Court and/or Alabama Supreme Court related to proceedings in which Alabama probate judges were involved.
– Failure to recuse himself from pending proceedings in the Alabama Supreme Court after making public comment and placing his impartiality into question

Minor points, minor points.

He refused to clean out his office, and appealed. And lost.

BUT BACK TO THE PERFECT TIMING!!!

Thanks the New Gov saying “Hey, let’s vote on that Senate thang!”, six days following the court’s ruling removing him from office again, Ol’ Roy resigned from the Alabama Supreme Court and announced he would be running for the United States Senate.

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Because those who can’t follow the law, make the law.

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People vote for different reasons. Some people vote for character, or the party line, or the candidate’s views on issues, or their voting record, or their IMDB catalog, or their last name, or their physical attributes, Twitter history, or any number of other things. The American system allows you to choose not only who you vote for, but why you vote for them, which factors you emphasize or ignore in that reasoning, etc. But theoretically, on some level, as a voter, you are making some sort of informed, rational choice based on something.

Voters haven’t always shown a knack for the subtleties between genuineness and hypocrisy, or between those who believe in their values and those who are manipulating their values to get votes, but regardless, this particular voting opportunity was a lose/lose.

Because in the Republican primary, there was:

– Ol’ Roy.
– Big Luther, who still had the Luv Gov’s film of slime covering him,
Mary Maxwell, a woman who moved from Australia to Alabama to run for Senate. Her qualifications include writing books on mind control, political treason, natural cancer cures and teen etiquette.
– A few other low-level politicians with absolutely no chance of winning.

(Let’s be clear: Mary didn’t have a chance, either, but she’s worth mentioning because Australia? Really? But hey – we appreciate you sending over a reasonable candidate.)

Shockingly, Mary’s knowledge of mind control did not help her win, and Ol’ Roy took the primaries.

And New Gov (who created this mess) was all like,

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The special election was set: December 12, Ol’ Roy versus Doug Jones, a democrat (which, in the language of  Alabamian, the definition of Democrat is… (n.) – a person whose political beliefs are so heinous that even if his opponent is sleeping with your wife and also a serial killer of the clergy, the Democrat will always be the most sinful choice.)

(This definition, by the way, is how we ended up with Republicans like Grandpa Gov who say and do whatever they want, because Alabama is like that parent that doesn’t offer any actual consequences for disobedience, but then is flummoxed when their four-year-old acts like a raging demon.)

…And then things got weird.

On November 9, The Washington Post broke the story that also broke the dam.

When Ol’ Roy was the not-so-fresh age of 32 and the Assistant District Attorney, he allegedly targeted a 14-year-old girl whose parents were divorcing, asked for her phone number, manipulated her into “dating” him, and sexually assaulted her.

Three other women also testified to him pursuing them, dating them, and/or buying them alcohol when they were underage and he was in his 30s.

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Ol’ Roy quickly played his favorite card – The God Card. He denied it all, calling it spiritual warfare and a political witch hunt, pointing out the suspect timing of these things being brought up.

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But as we all know thanks to Bill Clinton, if you deny it and you’re an actual dirty dirty dirtbag, more women will come forward.

(Also learned from Bill: It still may not mean your career is over.)

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What followed was another accuser, who said that he violently assaulted her as a teenager after offering to give her a ride home from the restaurant where she worked. She claimed he threatened her to not tell anyone, and said “You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.”

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She also had a yearbook that he allegedly signed (which, honestly, is so weird that a 34-year-old man would have signed a waitress’ year book in December that it is in doubt for its authenticity. But it’s almost so random that why would you choose that to forge?), which Ol’ Roy’s lawyer has demanded access to so he can examine the inconsistency of fonts used, and carbon date the ink to the appropriate SNL cast.

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Ol’ Roy denied it, and “didn’t remember” dating teenagers, but conceded that he could have dated teenagers. Whatever happened to morally dubious politicians owning it hard like Alexander Hamilton dropping The Reynolds Pamphlet?

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(It’s pertinent to note here that Ol’ Roy married when he was 38 and his wife was 24.)

In the midst of this election, one of his professors and many of his classmates came out and gave us a disturbing window into Moore’s school days, where one professor had to abandon the Socratic method just to get Ol’ Roy to shut up, and another professor nicknamed him “Fruit Salad” because he was so mixed up and made no sense.

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And THEN, all of Gadsden, his hometown and where all of these teenage incidents allegedly occurred, began offering interviews and telling their stories about how Ol’ Roy would troll the newly-built mall every weekend for teenage girls, harass the young store clerks, was known by every mall employee as a SuperCreep, was placed on a mall watch list for being a complete Ick, and eventually was possibly banned from the mall.

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Even the National Chapter of Dirty Old Men began to be disgusted.

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I totally get why the women who had been assaulted hadn’t come forward. Most of us women have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted at some point, and if we all came forward, the world would dissolve into nothing but women calling out their assaulters.

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But as for the whole city of Gadsden keeping the whole mall thing under wraps, I’m with Cameron…

Then a lady came forward who claimed assault in 1992, the first accuser in the era of Ol’ Roy’s post-marriage days, and even more ladies came forward and said that Ol’ Roy had tried to hit on them, pick them up, and/or assault them when they were teens and he was in his 30s. The numbers of accusers, of corroborators, and of common Gadsden knowledge is quite enough to overcome any doubts due to the timing of this avalanche.

After all this, national Republicans ran from him as fast as they could.

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And Ol’ Roy was all like “Seriously Guys I didn’t do it!”

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All while state republican leaders doubled down and threatened anyone with political murder if anyone dared defy him, run against him, or speak out against him.

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Everyone had to get their opinion in.

Rush Limbaugh excused him by saying “Well, he was a democrat when he did all that, so…”

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And his supporters rallied on Facebook in support of him, while the rest of us wondered in our heads, “How many women would it take for you to take a hot minute and consider whether it could possibly be true that Ol’ Roy’s a hypocrite who has been using you and your values?”

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But the winner of Moore defenders was Jim Zeigler, state auditor, who said,

“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Jim:

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Me and the rest of Alabama:

y3PWaHz

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In his analysis, Jim missed:
a) Ol’ Roy’s actions were allegedly nonconsensual. Yeah, that’s illegal.
b) Even if they weren’t nonconsensual (which they were – see point a), age of consent in Alabama is set by the actual Alabama law, not the ages that we guess people were in A.D. 0 when life expectancy was today’s legal drinking age.
c) Mary and Joseph and Jesus and God….I’m not even going to try to explain all that to Jim. But let’s just all agree he got it wronger than Kanye attempting to explain advanced trig, and people like Jim are why Alabamians and Christians and especially Christian Alabamians look like idiots in the national news.

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So that’s the story of this week’s crazy Alabama.

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…And all of this is because Grandpa Gov’s oozy, icky office romance (and the texts that went with it) continue to ripple consequences in moldy, skeezy concentric circles.

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I don’t think that blessing stuck.

A Week In The Woods

From Monday to Thursday evening of last week, I was in the woods. No wi-fi, perilously spotty cell service, and all the fallishness I could ask for.

(And Ali didn’t mind it, either.)

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We rented a cabin at Oak Mountain State Park, which is close enough for Chris to commute to work, and the children and I never left the park.

It was glorious.

We didn’t abandon our school – that’s the beauty of homeschooling – it can be done on top of a picnic table by a lake.

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We didn’t do a full load of subjects, but our 20+ miles of hiking and half-dozen canoe trips made up for that.

(Science! Physical Education! Field Trips!)

(Some people enjoyed the canoeing more than others.)

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I attempted to make the week have an ‘80s vibe – I told the children that they could roam on their own around the cabin area. I gave them boundaries, flashlights, and instructions to GO. EXPLORE. Be children.

With the exception of sound: remember, children, it’s called Tranquility Lake for a reason.

Oak Mountain Fall Trip 2017 IMG_4657blogYou can see those flashlight beams on the other side of the lake. As children are supposed to be.

They didn’t really do a good job of all that – they tended to still stay close to me like the flock of geese that twenty-teen children are. But I tried. And I shook them from me a couple times, at least.

My parents came and joined us for a day and night, and with them, as always, came adventure. As they are much more experienced at having eighties kids than me, I totally trusted my dad to row Ali right up to a fairly steep dam and spillway to peer over the edge.

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But the more exciting part of that canoe ride was when Dad and Ali spotted a speedily moving object in the water – and began chasing it.

They chased it, it disappeared. They discussed “Could it be an alligator??”

It appeared across the lake, and they chased it again.

Finally, they got close enough for grabbing. It was a very fast-moving fishing pole.

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After a few swipes and misses, Ali was able to grab it before it swam off again – but it fought back.

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Ali almost dropped the pole once – it was pulling seriously hard.

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But whatever The Monster of Oak Mountain was, it broke the line and left Ali as the proud owner of its former fishing pole.

Oak Mountain Fall Trip 2017 IMG_4755blog(We suspected a large turtle…but monster is also totally believable.)

After the Loch Ness excitement, Gramamma helped the kids forage in order to make The World’s Best Fairy House Mansion.

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There were beds and tables and lampposts and salads and chicken and water and…

I mean seriously. Some Fairy stumbled across this estate and I’m sure assumed she’d died and gone to heaven. This project definitely counted as “Charity Work” on the school log.

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One of the things I most love about staying at Oak Mountain as opposed to visiting (it is, after all, only 30 minutes from my house) is the ability to night hike.

Oak Mountain closes at sunset. When we visit, I’m usually sweating about making it out of there – because I’m pushing it to the last minute to get pictures of the sunset that signifies that I’m about to get locked in.

But if you are staying at Oak Mountain, gates are not an issue. So every night after dinner (I took along a huge pot of soup and grilled cheese makings and that’s what we ate all three nights because soup and grilled cheese are always good in a state park no matter how many nights in a row you’ve eaten it), we’d go on a hike together. I got amazing pictures of these hikes, like this one:

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Okay, Chris fared a little better in his nocturnal photographical pursuits:

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It was, admittedly, slightly creepy the first night as we walked around the lake, hearing impossibly loud plops in the water. Too far of a drop for turtles…too loud for snakes…too loud for frogs…we never did figure out what we were scaring into the water, but whatever it is, I’m sure it was a fishing-pole-stealing type of monster.

But those hikes became the highlight of our days – we’d all get flashlights or headlamps or both and head out into the completely silent forest, crunching on the leaves and blissfully soaking in the crisp November air. Plus, it gave Chris another way to enjoy his time there, since he was still going to work. (He also got up early and ran, so he felt a decent amount of state-park-relaxation in spite of going to work.)

The kids spent our days split between a little school, a little canoeing, and a lot of hiking.

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Oak Mountain has so many trails (over 60 miles, plus a bunch of unmarked trails), so no matter how much we hike out there, there’s always more to see and explore.

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Somehow in her foraging, Ali seemed to have stumbled across The Elixir of Perfect Hair – it certainly wasn’t clean or even tangle-freehair, but somehow it looked like this – in the MIDDLE of a hike.

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GAH. The magic of youth.

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The kids recovered from our walks with a little coffee drinking and a lot of card playing. They might’ve transitioned to adulthood last week.

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And Chris and I spent our evenings and mornings staring at the lake and enjoying the silence of sleeping, thoroughly-worn-out children.

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On our last day at the park, our cousins came out in the morning for a hike, and our friends came out in the afternoon for a hike. The energy levels provided by having friends to hike with was unbelievable – despite hiking so much in the prior days, Noah was sprinting excitedly up the mountainside when he had his cousins to hang with.

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They brought along their massive puppy Macro (still not full-grown), which made it all the more exciting. That dog walks like a lion.

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My only complaint about the week was the lack of sun. The temperature was lovely, but the fog made our hike up to the beautiful lookout a bit…anticlimactic.

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With a lot of angling and waiting for clouds to thin, the best shot I got of the fall foliage below was…

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But the kids didn’t seem to mind. Snacktime still happens on the top of the mountain whether you are enshrouded in fog or not.

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In between hikes, we frantically packed up our cabin and checked out, then met our next friends at the demonstration farm,

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…which is the residence of the nicest, most fantastically depressed donkey you will ever meet.

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He will really help one understand the casting decision for Eeyore.

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The demonstration farm also has ponies, a pig, two peacocks (that sadly weren’t in bad moods and so didn’t show us their magnificent feathers), and a herd of extremely frisky and escape-minded goats.

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Lest you miss him in the corner of the picture, this guy was their lookout while they purloined their sweet ride. He was chosen for his stellar ability to look nonchalant.

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We’ve done the whole feeding-the-goats thing before, and it was frankly frightening. You buy a bag of food, and your reward is getting immediately stampeded.

Frankly, you walk up to the window where they sell the food and you’re likely to draw attention.

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However, the farm made a massive improvement since our last visit – they now have a fenced off area from which you can feed the animals in safety.

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That’s right. At this farm, the humans go in the zoo and the animals come visit them. It’s the way things should be, really.

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After our animal needs were filled, we set off on two last hikes.

The first one included Oak Mountain’s fabulous bird trail (where they have rehabilitating owls and birds of prey in large cages tearing apart bloody mice but you don’t feel so bad for the mice after you read the bird’s back-stories on how they ended up there),

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Through the woods, during which the kids went through the bottom of this tree stump and ended up in Narnia, as one does,

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And, on our last leg of hiking, down to Peavine Falls.

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It was the perfect ending to our week of fall, which was just long enough, as I was quite ready to be back in my own bed, with my own shower, and my own refrigerator. And maybe a bit of wi-fi.

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But not before I booked us the same trip for next November – only next time, we’ll be staying the full seven days. Because I might be a little addicted to this season.

Adult Smash Cakes are the New Promposal.

It’s hard to identify what a decade is about when you’re in the midst of it, but oh-so-easy after they’re over.

The ‘70s didn’t know they’d be remembered for their Disco and groovy polyesters. The ‘80s didn’t imagine we’d mostly recall their patchy vests and Duck Head shorts. And the ‘90s had no idea we would think of them and reminisce on the beautiful days of music.

Okay maybe I’m biased.

However, I believe I have cracked the case on what the twenty-teens will be remembered for.

Their ability to narcissistically turn every happening into a massively overblown moment.

“Oh, in the 90’s, y’all just asked people to prom? Well then. We will hire a skywriter or ask on the Jumbotron or (Dear God please no) get a tattoo to ask our girlfriend to prom.”

(That’s right. As if their girlfriend needed them to get a tattoo to invite her to an event for which she full well knows she will be invited to. I mean, if you’re inviting the super hot girl you’ve never even spoken to, get a tattoo. But if you’re inviting the girl you’ve been dating since your freshman year, a note card and perhaps a small bouquet will suffice.)

The twenty-teens also have a penchant for taking things that are typically considered mundane or undesirable and turning them into a FREAKING EVENT.

This is the generation of rainbow-dyed armpit hair, purposefully squiggly eyebrows, nose hair extensions, selfie nails, and of course, glitter pits.

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Another aspect where turning a mundane thing into an event occurs is within the term “Adulting.” Let’s stay un-grown-up even when we’re definitely supposed to be grown up and then groan about it being extremely difficult when we have to, say, pay our car payment or, maybe have a job, or, heaven forbid, LOAD THE DISHWASHER.

The agony.

It’s totally chic.

This digital generation is but a season away from professional photoshoots of scented divorce papers being served in hot air balloons. And life-sized body cakes served in chilled coffins alongside the IRL caskets of loved ones. (Of course, all perfectly filtered for the ‘gram.)

So it makes total sense that these kids who were promposed to and attempt to do as little adulting as possible would invent the trend of Adult  Cake Smashes.

Just search the hashtag #adultcakesmash on Instagram if you want to feel better about your life.

Adult Cake Smash

I’m not going to show you multiple photos of this event because I really want you to go yourself, check it out, mouth agape, accidentally drooling on your iPhone.

But allow me to describe some of the trends within this trend for you, just to whet your appetite. Or bile.

So the idea is to take the ubiquitous one-year-old photo op that we all had and turn it into something for a twenty-something (or even thirty-something) year old woman (or, in rarer but still existing cases, man. Yes, man.)

There are almost always tutus, booze, and sparkles involved in these pictures. They’re the foundation that the A.C.S. is built on.

From the foundation, you can build your Smashing Good Time via two main paths.

….1. You can go the Cutesy Little Girl way, and give yourself pigtails, have a chalkboard stating how many months old you are, what your favorite candy is, and what you want to be when you grow up. This option can also include a tiara, much pink icing, and maybe even a hobby horse and/or Barbies.

….2. Or you can take the Super-Sexed-But-Trying-To-Act-Like-I-Always-Look-Like-This route, where you want to familiarize your Instagram followers with every aspect of your over-glittered body, all while having the expression of innocence and naïveté on your face that says “Oh, it’s sexy when I’m wearing nothing above the waist except strategically placed icing? I had NO idea – I was just trying to recreate my one-year-old photos!”

(Yes. I did see that specific photoshoot while researching for this post. I am not exaggerating.)

But to pull off the Super-Sexy A.C.S, you don’t have to be completely nude – no need to put the future of your Instagram account in danger. Instead, try wearing a gold sparkle bodysuit, perhaps. Or mermaid shells are always a nice touch.

(If you’re a dude, your choices are much more straightforward. You just have to decide if you want a hamburger-shaped cake or Star Wars Death Star cake. And what kind of beer you want next to your cake while you’re smashing yourself into it.)

Once you decide whether you’re going Cutesy or Sexy or Dude, you then must decide how much icing you want on your face. Do you want to look as if you head-butted your cake, spreading the actually-carefully-placed-icing all the way to your forehead and creeping into your hairline? Or do you want the more subtle look, as if you just picked up a hunk and shoved it in a still-awkward-with-fine-motor-movement-toddler way toward your mouth?

Because heaven forbid that we let on that we can, at this age, actually eat cake like a normally-functioning adult. The only thing you never see in an A.C.S. is a dang FORK.

But. In all of my research into this matter, I did find the exception. The one pair of Cake Smashers that ABSOLUTELY deserved the event, the cake, and the mess of icing.

These 100 year old twins.

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So. If you have a twin and you both live to be 100, I absolutely INSIST that you have a cake smash.

But the rest of you could do with a bit more adulting.