The Death of a Grasshopper.

“Hey Mom! There’s a hurt Grasshopper out here!”

Noah had gone to the front porch to feed the neighborhood cat that is known at our address as Thomas.

(Thomas has many names – many more than we probably even know. He works the feline benefits system well, just as his predecessor Fred, ingratiating himself to (or guilting handily) all of the neighborhood in order to eat as many meals as possible.)

“Is he dead?”, I asked Noah.

(Back to the grasshopper here – not Thomas. Follow my train of thought, people!)

“No – he’s just hurt. He’s still wiggling.”

Based on where Noah was standing – right in front of the door – I knew the grasshopper had to have been a special delivery from Thomas himself. A thoughtful gift for us in exchange for our feeding efforts.

But we were doing school and I had no time to inspect my gift at that moment.

We found ourselves on the porch later in the day, doing our read-aloud and other subjects that we do as a group. Somehow I’d missed, yet again, properly appreciating this gift, so Noah picked him up on a leaf and brought him to me to inspect.

It was pitiful.

The lovely Grasshopper was confined to his side, clearly having lost one of his jumping legs and bleeding a brownish liquid from his Thorax.

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He looked at me imploringly, while focusing on his labored, slow breaths. It was almost as if I could hear his thoughts.

My dear lady, I apologize for the predicament in which I find myself. It appears your cat has made the attempt to make a gift of me. I hope you find me a worthy gift, but it is rather inconvenient that I am mortally wounded.

It was just terrible. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it’s not even my cat.

I am personally not nearly offended enough by Thomas’ outright-dead gifts – in fact, I have memorialized more than one:

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The-Beast

But there was something about this nearly dead gift that broke my heart. I just wasn’t sure what to do. Maybe he would recover somewhat, and slink away to heal – or maybe not.

Ah, my lady, I would love nothing more than to ease your discomfort by dragging my damaged exoskeleton into the bushes and die in peace, but alas, my limbs do not appear to be useful at the present time. Perhaps you could –

But we had school to do.

I do hope that Mr. Grassy enjoyed the reading of a chapter of “The Incorrigibles of Ashton Place”, and then a chapter in our Chemistry and Physics textbook. I ruminated over the possibility that at least, in his last moments of life, he could increase his knowledge and understanding of the cruel world that had murdered him.

Fascinating, So the electrons revolve around the nucleus? Who knew?

But…he didn’t die.

By the end of the reading, his breathing was even more painful to watch. More labored, more heaving. You could nearly hear him gasping and groaning. And he now lay in a small pool of his own bodily fluids.

It is most unfortunate, madam, that due to the physics of your cat, my personal chemistry is leaking onto your porch. I am most embarrassed. Perhaps now might be a good time to –

So I texted Chris for moral guidance.

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Chris has always been a freeze-er. Anytime he finds large spiders, he captures them carefully in my Tupperware and puts them in my freezer. Something about the violent crunching of stepping on a living being is more than he can handle.

(Obviously I draw the line at cockroaches entering my freezer. So he’s a flush-er of those.)

I am not a freeze-er. I find this somehow more cruel. Or at least me thinking about that gasping Grasshopper becoming colder and colder in his last moments was too much for me.

I wanted him to go out with his new education, not wishing he had a scarf.

Oh, thank you. I do hate to impose, but it would be most helpful if you could end this unfortunate situation.

So I folded him up in a piece of paper, added two leaves in for a further wall between him and my foot, took him out to the sidewalk (as Noah tailed me, asking if Grasshoppers go to heaven and how do I KNOW they don’t have souls?!?), and I stepped on him.

I picked up the paper and peeked in.

HE WAS STILL MOVING.

MADAM, this is most unhelpful. I am trying to maintain my dignity and composure, but this is quite unpleasant. Could you PLEASE try again?

This was the worst execution I’d ever been a part of. I felt sick, evil, and an all around persecutor of grasshoppers.

I quickly sat down the paper and thoroughly ensured his death.

The next time I fed Thomas I made sure to tell him to please be sure and leave only completely dead things in the future.

Well, if I was really your cat, you might get better gifts. Kiss my tail.

Theories on a Grand Target Adventure.

As I was driving down Highway 280 on Saturday afternoon, lost in thought about all I had to accomplish in the next day and week and year and lifetime, I approached a set of flashing police lights in the median. I slowed down, as one does, out of caution and to ensure that it wasn’t a tricky speed trap.

The cars in front of me slowed as well and then we all slowed much slower than we should have slowed because what was going on was super curious in a fantastic sort of way.

The median was only a few feet wide, but it held a lot of items at that moment:

1. A single cop car.
2. A cop, standing in the median, currently occupied with handcuffing and emptying the pockets of an
3. Extraordinarily tall and skinny gentleman.
4. The gentleman’s apparent mode of transportation, which was a Target shopping cart, containing
5. Two industrial-sized mops and a
6. Mop water bucket (uncertain if it still contained dirty mop water.)

Two more cop cars came barreling up the hill toward the party, lights flashing and sirens blaring, because obviously this situation required at least six policemen, especially since those mops were INDUSTRIAL-SIZED.

My mind busied itself for the rest of the day, mapping out this scene and analyzing it in a studious forensic fashion.

Highway 280, for those of you who aren’t from around here, is our everybody-hates-it highway. It’s huge, always crowded, a continual source of irritation to the entire population, and also the victim of constant reworking to attempt to fix the eternal traffic problems. Currently, there are all these you-can’t-turn-left-but-you-can-U-turn lanes, complete with traffic lights that show the U-Turn symbol instead of a left-turn signal. They’ve barricaded other former left-hand turns and even straight-across pathways, one of which added 15 minutes onto my personal travel situation.

So you get the picture – this isn’t some backwoods country lane. It’s a SERIOUS road.

The location of the Target Cart Incident was directly in front of the Water Works reservoir. Mapping quickly in my head and then confirming the mileage with the help of Google Maps, the closest two Targets were…

1. 1.8 miles away, but up a seriously steep incline on Highway 280,
2. 4.4 miles away, on Highway 280, but crossing over the interstate, passing a huge shopping mall (and therefore much traffic), and containing a slight uphill climb, then a fairly good downhill coast.

Target Mop GuyMap not to scale. Curves on 280 attempting to show elevation change. Because I’m super good at maps like that.

I decided option two was where he’d come from, as option one’s steep uphill would have been impossible while riding a Target Cart in traffic traveling at 55 miles per hour. Which means that, coming from the other direction, if he’d only made it to that steep downhill section, he’d have had the ride of his life. Who needs roller coasters when you have a Target Cart and Highway 280?

I envisioned the journey as this: Extraordinarily Tall Gentleman (ETG) riding on the back of the cart, kid-style, while holding onto the handlebars. He would push himself like a skateboard to get going, then put his feet up on the crossbar, lean over (quite a bit due to his height), and coast when he could, hopefully with minimal dirty mop water backsplash.

That covered the where and the how, but more importantly was the why.

Maybe he was the janitor at one of these Targets.

Maybe some snot-nosed kid had spilled the LAST Slushie he was going to clean up.

Maybe some suburbia Mom had sloshed the LAST Starbucks double Frappe from which he was going to destickify the floor.

Maybe in a revolt against Target’s gross misuse of the word clearance, some angry Tennis Housewife had smashed a case of 10% off “clearance” La Croix.

Maybe there’d been a puker in the home goods section. And maybe it’d splashed all over the sheets and towels.

Whatever happened, I envisioned ETG looking at that Last Mess, saying “Oh no. Uh uh. I’m done here”, and walking his Cart de Mop right out the front sliding doors, pushing it to the end of the parking lot, holding on for dear life, giving a loud Braveheart-Style war whoop, and riding his way to FREEDOM from the tyranny of the Kingdom Tarzhey.

I feel like ETG could have had a slightly better escape route planned beforehand, though. 280 drivers are known for spotting – and tweeting – oddities very quickly. Such as Naked Guy with the tripod (not an innuendo) taking selfies of himself – there were two dozen tweets about him before he could snap his first duckface. No, ETG riding a Target Cart with Two Industrial Mops and a Mop Bucket didn’t have a chance. But he did hold on longer than Naked Guy (not an innuendo), so there’s that.

(As an aside, I did in 2014 have a brief(less) Twitter conversation with Naked Guy. I did not get to the bottom of his motive.)

Later that evening, we passed back by the scene of the crime. I was hoping that the cart would still be there – as a memorial to the ET(and Brave)G. But it was gone. Which led to a whole different slew of questions. Did the cops somehow tow the cart back to the correct Target? Did Target come and retrieve their property themselves? Or was that cart and its contents booked as evidence of a Crime of Passion and Adventure?

The world will probably never know. But I feel like ETG deserves accolades for his attempt to escape the oppression of The Target Empire, not to mention for distracting my mind completely from all I had to do that day and week and month and year and life.

And so I’m here to offer it.

I salute you, ETG.

And I promise to attempt to keep my coffee in my cup and the puke in my kid while I’m in the confines of all Targets from here on out – as a memorial to you and your valiant Stand Against Messes.

The Alabama Skimm

I’ve mentioned before how much I like The Skimm, and there’s been a lot going on here lately, so I decided to give you guys a bit of my own homestate Skimm.

Alabama’s been talked about a lot lately.

First, our Governor had a, well, a situation that ended up giving us a new Governor in the most fanfare sort of way.

Then the crazy popular S-Town podcast was released.

And finally, The Daily Show had Alabama Week.

 

So, since I assume that I’m your main news source for all true and on-the-ground reporting of Alabama (amIright?), Let’s do some bullet points.

 

  • You’ll be happy to know that we’re not letting our fame get to our heads. If anything, every time another news story goes national about Alabama, we’re more inclined to do a *headdesk*.
  • Because, apparently, just as “good girls don’t make history”, “normal Alabamians don’t make national news.”

So let’s get started.

  • Several of you asked for further details about The whole Guv sitch (read here for the rest of the deets.) I have a few for you – things that got edited out of my first overview because that thing was freaking long. I mean it had to be – it’s quite the saga. But here you go…

…The Governor had a habit of “running away” anytime he and The Sweetest Little Lady you Ever Did See got into an argument about New Girl. But the thing is, Governors aren’t supposed to just “take off.” You know, security and whatnot. His detail was constantly trying to be ready to chase after him when he left in a huff. One night, after a scramble to locate him, they had to report to their commanders, “Uh, we lost the governor.” It took a while for them to track him down by helicopter – turns out, he’d driven all the way to their beach house to have some “quiet time.” Another one of his leave-in-a-huffs, he left from their hometown of Tuscaloosa and forgot his wallet – had no money, ID, or anything. So naturally, he demanded that a state aircraft take off from Montgomery, pick up the wallet in Tuscaloosa, and deliver it to him at the beach.

Another jewel:

…After New Girl said this about The Sweetest First Lady,

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…she actually wrote a speech for The Sweetest First Lady to make when she finally decided to leave The Guv. It’s THE WORST.

“I am grateful to the kind and good-hearted people of Alabama for allowing me to serve as your First Lady for the last five years. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve you and to work together on issues close to my heart such as Domestic Violence Awareness and support for Alabama’s foster children. I want to thank you all for your continued prayers of support for me, for my family and for Robert. The erroneous and unsubstantiated media reports over the last few weeks have been very hurtful to our family and to (the Caldwell and Mason families) and (other families) as well. We ask for your continued prayers in the days and weeks to come. It has been an honor to serve this great state as your First Lady.”

Thankfully, The Sweetest Old Lady You Ever Did See taught us all what you do when your husband’s mistress/Kellyanne-Conway-Wanna-Be writes you a speech that attempts to exonerate your husband’s mistress: she gave some amazing side-eye and said “Girl. Bye.”

112910_WEB_B_Bentley_t1070_hc875ec9985c267cd83eced2dd63ab131d05bf676If I were a better photoshopper, I’d turn that quilt into The Mean Girl Speech.

…Before leaving him, The Sweetest First Lady employed some fantastic and devious tactics to attempt to undermine New Girl’s hold on her husband. Unbelievably heinous things like…taking pictures with her husband and posting them on social media.

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…”Did New Girl’s husband know? Why would he have been okay with it going on?” Those were questions I got asked the most. All indications and depositions imply that yes, he knew all along. As for why he was cool with all this… between their two government salaries, Rebekah’s later shady salary from the shady ACEGOV that the Guv put together, and their two consulting/ad agencies, New Girl and In-Cahoots Hub made well over a million dollars during the time in which New Girl was in the Governor’s employ. So draw your own conclusions.

…The most drama-filled day of the administration was the Governor’s second inauguration. By then, the Sweetest First Lady had secretly moved back to their hometown and was not residing at all in the Governor’s mansion (but still pre-divorce.) What was going on had not come out in the press yet, but the Sweetest First Lady had no desire for herself or her family to be subjected to the inauguration. The drama and planning that went down that day (as recorded in the First Lady’s Chief of Staff’s notes) is miniseries-worthy…Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 4.18.09 PM

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House of Cards ain’t got nothin’ on Alabama.

Moving on in The News From Alabama…

  • S-Town. I can’t decide how I feel about this podcast. Maybe it’s like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter sequel, The Cursed Child – I had to read it twice, back-to-back, to be able to enjoy it (the second time.) But I don’t feel like listening to S-Town again, so I guess I’ll have to stay confused about my feelings. Some brief thoughts, for those of you who have listened to it…(minor spoilers ahead for those who haven’t.)

…John B.’s house is 54 minutes from my house. I know this because you can type “S-Town Hedge Maze” into Google maps and see that magnificent creation. I have mutual friends on Facebook who are friends with some of the people in the show. These facts are mind-blowing to me, as that world seems three worlds away from my world.

…The first two episodes of this podcast personified why I have such high anxiety about Alabama being in the news. Despite every quadrant of this nation having backwards, close-minded small towns, Alabama (and Mississippi) seem to always get labeled by those places, and are never mentioned for all of our many finer qualities. Also, people become caricatures of themselves and of Alabama. As was shown in the later episodes, all of those people have more depth than what is initially portrayed (for better or worse, in some cases.)

…My overall frustration about the podcast is that I feel like John B. planned the whole thing to be his story. So as to not give it completely away, I believe the “twist” at the end of episode 2 was his plan all along. He wanted to be remembered in a literary fashion, and he was a most fascinating individual, but his methods were ultimately selfish and tragic.

What were your thoughts, if you’ve listened?

Moving on.

  • The Daily Show. It wasn’t at all what I expected – they covered issues that were surprisingly not at the top of the everyday radar – perhaps the fact that it was educational to me is proof that they didn’t exactly catch the overall feel of the state. Such as the Alabama forest conservationist whose actual goal is to protect Bigfoot (or Bigfeet, as he was pretty sure there were more than one.)

…The premise was that because Alabama is the state with the lowest amount of Daily Show viewers, they decided that they needed to get to know Alabama and figure out what they were doing wrong. So for four days, they did stories about Alabama.

…The show was less cringe-worthy and more heart-warming that I expected, which really is wise on their part as they’re trying to lure us, not offend us. Tuesday night’s episode was about “Alabama’s Biggest Problem”, prison overcrowding.

(I mean it’s a problem. For sure. But we have others. If you haven’t noticed.)

…On that same day that aired, the Alabama House of Representatives was voting on whether or not to decriminalize Midwifery (midwifery is so fun to say – midWHIFFery midWHIFFery…). That’s right – if you’re a midwife, you’ve been an outlaw in this state. We insist on either hospital childbirth or do-it-yourself at home with ABSOLUTELY NO HELP, got it??

The timing of these two things did not miss mine and Chris’ attention…and our mental image of overcrowded prisons immediately changed to one of prisons bursting at the seams with midwives. We could only assume that they smuggle in essential oils and practice deep breathing on the regular. Kombucha is the contraband of choice and they line their cells with photos of the babies that they criminally helped out into the world.

And what did they do to get put in those overcrowded prisons? The bustling underground midwifery operation, obviously. Which leads to questions such as how does one find a Midwifery dealer? And I bet that black market midwifery is so very unregulated – we MUST decriminalize so that we can regulate and tax it properly!

The Daily Show really missed a trick on the whole criminal midwifery angle. I mean, if you thought Orange is the New Black was fun, just wait until Orange is the New Midwife comes out!

Between Alabama House of Cards and Orange is the New Midwife, we don’t need no S-Town.