Saturday, February 22, 2014

Looking Back (A Time Capsule Conversation)

This is the last story I'm bringing over from my first blog, Bits-O-Bon.  If you know my husband, you'll know why this is so darned funny.


I have no idea why I recorded this.  No idea at all.  But it was hilarious to stumble across this recorded conversation in which my husband drives me crazy.  So, I present a time capsule from February 22, 2009:

Bart: Have you seen the movie about the surfing penguin?
Me: Nope.
Bart: It's a Disney movie.
Me: I know what you're talking about. I haven't seen it.
Bart: The one with the guy from Transformers doing a voice?
Me: Shia LeBeouf, babe. I haven't seen it.
Bart: I think it's called Surf's Up.
Me: It is. I haven't seen it.
(one minute passes)
Bart: It has the surfing penguins. Are you sure?
Bart: ...
Bart: Well you don't have to be so cranky about it.

That conversation could have taken place yesterday.  Some things change, and some things don't. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ode To A Potato Chip (Throwback Thursday)

I am closing down my old blog, and am backing up a few favorites. This one was well loved, and kept coming back to haunt me (in hilarious and awesome ways). I don't plan to have many of these, but this is one of few posts that had to survive the move to The Bon Project.

Lays had tried a handful of potato chip flavors and let people vote for the winner. Below is a copy of the letter I sent them after my experience with their Chicken and Waffles flavor.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to tell you about my experience with your new Chicken and Waffle flavored potato chips. Recently, my husband and I bought a bag in excited anticipation, having been through the South many times and enjoying fried chicken and waffles at establishments from Roscoe’s House to a dive in Baton Rouge where I danced the chicken dance while the room clapped... but I digress.

Allow me to begin by expressing my suspicion that you have any idea what chicken and waffles should taste like. To set the record straight, I will describe the two kinds you will encounter: the first, a large waffle with a chicken thigh or breast on top, breaded and covered with a cream maple gravy that is not too sweet and not too salty, thus marrying the flavors in a bridge of delight. Or, my personal favorite, a waffle made with fluffy batter, fried chicken with a great salty but otherwise unseasoned batter, likely fried by a grandmother in a dirty kitchen and brought to you on a plate with spots on it, and tons of maple syrup. I mean, lots of syrup. Get jiggy with the butter too, because you’re in the South and I bet you at least familiar with Paula Deen, the Velveeta Queen. If you feel spunky, throw some powdered sugar on there because there is simply no such thing as too much goodness on a waffle. I’m a fat girl from Missouri and my husband is attending culinary school. If I know anything, I know fried, sweet and food so good it will send you screaming home to Jesus with a smile on your face.

I refresh your memory because the chip I put in my mouth tasted similar to burnt hair with delicate notes of horse piss and vinegar. My jaw locked in agony while my tongue nearly beat a hole in my head trying to get away from that awful taste. The smell got trapped in my sinuses, and it took approximately 42 ounces of soda, a sandwich, two cookies and a sucker to overcome the taste that haunted my mouth. And this, dear sir or madam, was before I had the dubious pleasure of burping that chip until my evening meal put some much needed distance between us. I would dare pray it was finally over, and my stomach would percolate and my hell was fresh yet again. I will not tell you the depths to which I sank, but I can tell you I was perfectly willing to lick a cat’s ass so that my breath would improve. Though my coworkers are surely too mannerly to express their disdain, rest assured they hate you too.

It is most unfortunate that this “food” should taste like a gym sock left to fester in a moldy corner. My husband, who has trained himself to eat and break down the tastes of food he does not particularly enjoy, had something akin to a seizure when his taste buds processed your potato chip. That little vein on his forehead, the one I’ve only seen when I backed into a mailbox right after he told me to be careful, it came out and was visible for a full ten minutes. In fifteen years of marriage, I have never come close to this accomplishment. While clinically curious to see if he was indeed suffering from a stroke, I was also curiously appreciative of what it took to make him turn that shade of plum and wish to give credit where it is due. Bravo.

So, apart from that one grudging bit of praise, I will leave off with saying I believe this was an utter failure and will probably never eat one of your products again because you have given me trust issues. I would rather lick the toilet seat of a Greyhound bus station than give you jokers a single penny of my money. You may have surmised that I am also long-winded (I assume your powers of observation are stronger than your sense of taste) so don’t be surprised that this will be posted on my blog.

May your shame follow you for eternity.

Bon “The Geek” Tindle

Saturday, February 15, 2014

ICYMI: Love And Marriage

Published by Zandar Versus The Stupid, ran on February 14th, 2014.  I wrote a response to Jay Nixon's statement that Missouri voters should revisit the language that defines marriage.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11th

For me, February 11th is not a good day. But that’s going to change.

Today is unimpressive by most standards. Roosevelt signed the Yalta Agreement, and Nelson Mandela was released on this date in different years. If anything, it’s remarkable in its lack of bragging rights. With 364 other choices in a year, it is still greatly overlooked by big events. However, it is an important day for me. My mother was born on February 11, 1938. In case you are doing shocked math in your head, she had me when she was thirty-eight (the product of her second marriage). This year she will have been gone for fifteen years, but that’s a deceptive number. Really, she was gone long before that and it’s because of this that I had such a hard time figuring out what to do with her birthday. It’s not like I’m never not going to think about her, so what is the best way to mark the occasion? That question has plagued me for almost thirty years.

My mother was a huge influence on the person I am today. That can be said of just about any mother, but in my case her influence was more cautionary tale than inspiration. So little was known about depression and mental illness in the 1980s that we grossly mistreated people who just needed help. While I am not qualified to diagnose my mother, I am uniquely qualified to understand how she was. My mother suffered from mental illness and grew up terrified of being judged and hated for it. Mainly because that’s exactly what happened, though the people in her world simply wouldn’t have known how to support or help her even if they had wanted to. When I was eight, she disappeared for almost five years without a single word. When she returned, she was an entirely different person. Then she moved away, and yet again turned into a third woman who was nothing like the first two.

She always had a great love for life, a spark that I admired. When in the right mood, she could make anything fun. She took belly dancing lessons in her forties and threw a hip. She once (inexplicably) took to wearing a jewel on her forehead for weeks, and just for kicks drove five hours to be in the same building as Elizabeth Taylor. She loved mobsters. She busted her ass on the Bolivar town square trying to demonstrate how to walk in heels. She wanted to be famous but feared crowds. She laughed hard, and she had crazy whims of inspiration that my husband would recognize all too well. She painted, sang beautifully and finally found her true creative outlet as a writer. I got my love of writing while sitting beside her, listening to her talk out plots and comparing it to writing techniques. I can still spot a ten-point Pica font from a mile away, and to this day I maintain that the Oxford comma is an abomination.

But it wasn’t always fun. Over the years, her problems grew worse and nobody knew how to help her. She wouldn’t accept that she needed help, and I learned how to recognize the panicky fury of deep denial from talks when we would ask her to please, please see someone just for a checkup. Over the years, her spark faded and she became bitter and angry, lost in a deep depression where nobody could reach, not even the children that she never stopped loving. She killed herself in 1999, after a long year of escalating problems. All these years later, what has left me sad is the realization that I ultimately never knew my mother and I never will. And every year, there’s this day I can’t not associate with her and yet have no clue how to spend honorably. Every woman is afraid to grow up to be just like her mother. Most find comfort later in knowing they don’t, yet carry some traits that bind them. I am no different in that regard, but I still sometimes flinch when I look in the mirror and I see her face. Or when I’m nervous and I flutter my hands just like she used to, or when I catch myself standing just like she did when she was angry. I look just like she does in my earliest memories because I am only a couple of years younger than she was in my earliest memories. Our resemblance isn’t just remarkable, it’s downright uncanny. I usually say I don’t mind it, that I just hate it when it sneaks up on me. For the record, that’s bullshit. It bothers me big time and I have never gotten used to it. I never will.

We are told to honor our parents. That’s hard to do when you scarcely knew them. But I can do something; it just took me a while to figure it out. I can stop mourning for her and celebrate her. I can give her the good place she has earned as one of the voices I try to hear when I think about women who never stood a chance, as one of the faces I think of when I reach into my past. I will honor her by being true to myself, a luxury she was never allowed but would want for my sister and me. I won’t let someone tell me how a lady should be; I’m a lady and I’ll be how I please. I will love fiercely and let my heart break without letting it break me. I will wring every moment out of life, laugh hard and I will say fuck a lot and refuse to apologize. I will be honest about my worries and fears and shortcomings and nobody will make me ashamed, and no small town gossips will run me through their hoops. I will write and work for suicide prevention causes and be an advocate for mental illness awareness and all the issues that come with it. I will be compassionate to people because you never know who needs kindness the most. And most important of all, when I get the urge to stick a jewel on my forehead or dance wildly, I’m going to do it. Every time.

But today, on her birthday, I will celebrate her by nourishing my soul. I’ll never know her better, but by loving my life and myself I am doing all I can for what I have left of her. I am entering the prime of my life, the result of a journey that made me tough and smart and brave, and as I become the person I was meant to be I will thank her for her role in it. When I miss her, I will dab my eyes and go do something that reaffirms my love for the world around me. So tonight, in honor of my mother, I am going to my favorite coffee house with a good book, one to read just for the fun of reading it, and eat something delightful. I’m going to sit in the anonymous buzz of a public lounge (which I find hugely comforting and is social by my normal standards), and think about the people I love. I have to think that if she wanted anything for me, it would be that I enjoy my world and be mindful of my path. So that’s what I’ll do.

And I’m still too young for belly dancing lessons, so we have that to await with sweet anticipation.

Until next time,