All posts by X Teri

Looking To The Left

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During my last visit to Crystal Bridges, all I could see in Carroll Cloar’s “Charlie Mae Practicing for the Baptizing” painting was Post Malone, inexplicably standing in a river.

I can’t unsee it, no matter how much I read about the painting.
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Contrary Opinion Rationality Rule:
How you respond to contradictory and reciprocal opinion offered without malice is one of the best indicators of your temperament and ability to think rationally. Emotional or disproportionate responses to an opinion so offered are indicators of cognitive dissonance or in recognition of the frailty inherent in the arguments you choose to employ.

“That’s what he was telling me, anyway, right before I hit him with a pillowcase full of rocks.” – X

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Social Media Exclusion Observation

If you say, “I can’t be on Facebook,” you have one of 4 problems: you despise seeing contrary opinion due to the precarious and unmeasured depth of your own, your view of the world is fundamentally unhappy, you aren’t pruning your social tree to weed out those motivated by values which demean, or you don’t strive to put out into the world that which you wish to reflect back.

Facebook gives you magnificent control to decide whose content you see. It gives you the ability to ignore, block, hide, or scroll past meaningless content. It can’t give you peace if you’re not generally peaceful in your heart. It can’t grant wisdom if you can’t use it for personal and heartfelt content that you value. It can’t make the people you chose to include in your social media circle speak and behave in a manner that you feel they should. You can’t either, for that matter. Stop trying to make people align with your internal idea of how they should mold their opinions. You have permission to release them to be friends in the real world without also needlessly struggling to reconcile them to your life on social media. Let’s face it – some people simply aren’t capable of silence or the solace the scrolling past without throwing a cup of mud into your face.

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From Fryer To Fruitcake

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Last night, Dawn still felt unwell. Out of the blue, she said, “I’d really like a piece of one of the fruitcakes I got you for Xmas.” Assuming she had temporarily lost her mind, I ignored her request. We had just used the air fryer for the first time and consumed at least 343 potatoes. She asked again. I’d never known her to appreciate the culture and taste of fruitcake, so I was a bit surprised and reluctant to offer her any.
 
Unlike most people in the world, I love fruitcakes, both the food and people with odd dispositions. There’s a vast disparity in quality, of course. Many people make the stubborn assumption that if you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all -as if crème brûlée (a dessert made from the hopes and dreams of fairies) from a gas station is the same as crème brûlée from a fine restaurant. Many fruitcakes should be used only as anvils, military projectiles, and doorstops.
 
I retrieved the three fruitcakes Dawn bought me and carefully opened one, peeling back the protective layer of secret paper used to seal them away from the jealous stares of those unlucky enough to have their own fruitcake. I presented her with a modest slice of the delicious treat. She forked her slice and put a piece in her mouth. Immediately, her face curled into a mass of displeasure and disgust, as if she had just bit into a rather sizeable live cricket, one who struggled to get free from the confines of her mouth, even as it burst open.
 
“What is this SUPPOSED to taste like?!” she moaned as she used her tongue to force out the morsels of fruitcake that stuck to her mouth. “WHAT are those green things!” I almost cried as I watched one of the best foods in the world go partially to waste. Meanwhile, Dawn was spitting bits of fruitcake as if she were a major league pitcher standing on the mound, ready to pitch a fastball.
 
On the other hand, I laughed like a man with his head caught in an elevator as I watched the chameleonesque metamorphosis of her facial expressions.
 
The picture with this post is several seconds later. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the initial horror pictured on Dawn’s face. This picture isn’t the first picture; instead, it is just a pale tribute to the horror written large on her face.
 
I’m submitting Dawn’s picture to the National Fruitcake Alliance for their next marketing campaign: “Don’t Get Revenge – Get Fruitcake.” I’ll let you know.
 
I hope Dawn feels better this morning. The magic of a fruitcake rarely surprises me.

A Lot of Pickles In That Handbag

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Forget the original lyrics. Here’s my take on current events. You’re welcome, X

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I wish that we had one species of venomous birds. People would pay a lot more attention outside, look up more often, and probably sound more natural as they scream.
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If you say, “That’s the last straw!” there is probably a liberal who is happy but gets the wrong idea.
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I wonder if Napoleon had gone by the name “Leon” if he’d been as aggressive as he was.
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I was going to order a personal pizza, but because I was going to eat it, I instead ordered an impersonal pizza – because it was nothing personal.
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I frequent a bar that offers free peanuts because I loathe indentured foodstuffs.
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I bought a ticket in the nosebleed section, not realizing that the usher would punch me in the face. Bravo, for accuracy.
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I got into a fight with a flock of chickens. It’s a lot of exercise bending and throwing punches that low. So, I winged it.
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Once someone points it out, it’s hard to not think about the fact that each time you paint the inside of your house, the interior gets incrementally smaller.
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The patent office sent me a letter to advise me that no one had patented the idea of aardvarks in leotards.
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X’s rule of news site commentary: If you post comments on a news site, especially in anger, you’ve demonstrated the opposite of whatever intelligence is.

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One disadvantage of being a twin is that you can never convince someone that you forgot your sibling’s birthday.
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For us old folks: In a very short time, 2060 will be closer than 1980.
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The world would be much more musical if people’s heads sounded like marimbas when you punch them. Especially at boxing matches.

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The Elder Observation: The world isn’t fundamentally different; your focus, attention, and energy, however, is more likely to be concentrated on the extremes, especially as you grow older. Choices in clothing, food, music, and opinion dwindle; use this tendency as a warning sign that you’ve grown rigid.

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I wrote a movie about a dyslexic hacker. Unfortunately, it was 789 minutes long.

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“Go Tell It On The Mountain” sounds like prank advice.

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It’s not relevant, but I wonder if Bigfoot’s cellphone plan has roaming charges.

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Thanks! Panache, wit, and an actual laugh – all without even opening the envelope. While I certainly appreciate anyone with the nerve, time, and interest to send me a card of any kind, I confess that I’m often surprised by the lack of reciprocity of my admittedly weird efforts to keep life interesting. When it comes, I gain a little hope that not everything I do falls on deaf ears, dim eyes, or uninterested v̶i̶c̶t̶i̶m̶s̶ people in my life.
Signed, The King.

Card-giving is a declining art form. It’s okay to kill tradition and even stick your tongue out while you’re doing it.

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While getting dressed for the formal event, I suddenly realized where the cliché “the ties that bind” originated.

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I can’t help but feel a little put out when the pastor announces that “almost everyone” should join him in song.

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Some doubt that Bigfoot is real. As for me, I doubt he’s a Baptist.

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A Stolen Joke, Personalized

My friend Casey in Batesville was out shopping for Christmas on Thursday. After a couple of hours of yuletide surprise shopping, she left the UPS store and turned off Harrison Street. Her SUV began making a horrid, loud noise.

Casey drove immediately to the Stanley Wood dealership on Batesville Boulevard.

She pulled in to the service bay. The technician standing by the service counter grimaced at the loud noise that Casey’s SUV was still making.

Casey hollered above the noise. “It’s making the worst noise I’ve ever heard in my life!”

Without a pause, the tech said, “Have you tried turning off that Luke Bryan CD?”

Top Gun, Otis Redding, And a Coincidence

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In the movie Top Gun, when Maverick (Tom Cruise) goes to Charlie’s House, most people remember the iconic song “Take My Breath Away.” For me, though, the song that stole the moment was Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On the Dock of The Bay.” Toto originally was supposed to do the “Danger Zone” song, as well as another that would have been the song used instead of “Take My Breath Away.” Judas Priest was going to do a song for the soundtrack too but thought the movie would flop, as did many critics. Tom Cruise declined to do the movie repeatedly.

Most people with harsh criticisms of the movie tended to knock “the talking scenes” such as the one following the love scene at Charlie’s beach house. We all endured the testosterone-laden antics of our male friends in the late 80s as a result of this movie. For most of us who survived the 80s, each of us has at least one guilty pleasure in a song from the movie. I don’t think any of us miss the aviator sunglasses that seemed to be everywhere. None of us fully escaped the energy of Kenny Loggins as he sang “Danger Zone,” the fourth or fifth choice to sing the song.

What most people don’t consider is the unintentional coincidence of Otis’ biggest hit being in the scenes at the beach house. Maverick was about to go on the biggest mission of his life in one of the most modern airplanes in history, where death followed at every high-G spin.

Otis Redding recorded “Sittin’ On the Dock of The Bay” two times in 1967, with the second time being shortly before he died in December. The song was never officially finished. Otis is heard whistling in the song because he forgot the riffs he intended to fill in and started whistling to preserve the session. After Otis died, the beach sounds were added to this famous song by Steve Cropper, who helped Otis co-write the song.

I forgot to mention: Otis died in a plane crash.

 

Just Enough Truth To This

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It was a hot Saturday late afternoon. Though the clouds were piled high in the west, no one actually expected the sky to bless us with any rain. That part of the state hadn’t received any real rain in over ten days. Uncle Charles went through the screendoor and outside a few minutes ago. As he left, he shouted, “Get your behind moving,” already whistling. He taught me to whistle, too, and I knew I’d be mimicking him in a few minutes. He had also taught me how to whistle while inhaling, a valuable trait, albeit annoying to anyone who disliked whistling. “Assholes” was the endearing name Uncle Charles had for people who disagreed with him, especially if he was whistling or enjoying a bit of humor.

I was busily shoving as many homemade pickles in my mouth as I could, chewing like a man who just left a hunger strike. My Aunt Margie didn’t think much of her efforts at pickle-making. She couldn’t have been more wrong, though. On more than one occasion, I had devoured an entire jar without any assistance. Unlike most people, I accidentally discovered that I liked the pickles most people found to be less flavorful, especially if they were bitter.

I poured myself a huge glass of Coke from the 2-quart bottle as I struggled to get the pickles all consumed.

I went outside as quickly as possible to conserve as much of the cool air as possible. Grandma didn’t cotton to people dilly-dallying at the door in the summer. She was ecstatic for company to come to visit. She would, however, let anyone who took too long going in or out know that the air conditioning wasn’t free. In the South, it was common to hear shouts of “Get in or out!” or “Close the door!” fifty times a day. For those without air conditioning, the same shout was offered in response to the endless squadrons of mosquitoes circling every living creature.

Grandma didn’t have any foolishness such as chairs on her long front porch. Grandma didn’t understand why someone would sit outside in the heat if air conditioning was available. There was a porch swing on the opposite end of the porch, and it invitingly faced the field adjacent to her old house. You could sit on the edge of the porch, too, or on the creosote-soaked steps made from railroad ties. I sometimes forget how artfully so many men practiced the art of crouching and leaning.

Uncle Charles was leaning against the far end of the porch, near the porch swing. He was drinking a glass of water, a fact that seemed strange to me, given that Grandma kept a well-stocked supply of Coke in the house.

He and my Uncle Harry were arguing about the weather. It was a free hobby, so they tended to participate as if their livelihoods depended on it. Neither were farmers, so it seemed a bit odd to me that the matter managed to lasso so much of their attention.

Uncle Charles took my glass of Coke for a second as I clambered up onto the swing. He handed it back when I was situated. I nodded and said, “Thanks.” He winked at me and then clicked the side of his mouth to let me know it was okay. He lit a cigarette and handed it to me. Just as Uncle Harry was about to protest, Uncle Charles reached back over and took the cigarette from me. “You’re too old to smoke. And you don’t want to sound like your Aunt Helen.” He winked again.

As the yellow jackets flew by, we sweated. In the distance, loud cracks of thunder would occasionally echo, causing the wall of unseen insects to momentarily suspend their buzzing.

I finished my Coke after fifteen minutes. I remained on the swing, watching the wind blow against the bean plants. Both Uncle Charles and Harry sat on the edge of the porch with their backs turned to me. Uncle Charles had lit at least four more cigarettes. Their conversation had turned to baseball at some point, a subject I found to be as interesting as licking a hot stove.

Even though the wind had picked up speed, I hadn’t noticed that the sky had dimmed considerably. As Uncle Charles flicked his cigarette to knock loose the ashes on the tip, a massive lightning bolt struck the ground about fifty yards away, near the small board bridge along Clark Road. The clap of thunder that normally follows after a delay boomed immediately. We could all see where the lightning hit the field. All of us were seeing the afterglow of lightning in our eyes.

“Holy crap!” shouted Uncle Harry as he jumped down off the edge of the porch.

Behind us, someone threw open the front door and shouted, “Get your butts inside. Yes, Nannie, I’ll unplug the television!” The first part of Aunt Helen’s shout was for us. The second was for Grandma, who believed that unplugging everything prevented lightning from hitting. I always looked up at the tall television antennae wired to the side of the house when she mentioned it.

Uncle Harry quickly walked around the edge of the porch, up the railroad-tie steps, and inside the house. He worked outside a lot. Being around lightning didn’t inspire him to be closer to nature.

“Are you coming or what?” shouted Aunt Helen to Uncle Charles.

“Naw, we’ll come inside in a bit.” Uncle Charles jumped off the porch and onto the grass below. “Come on,” he said, turning to me. Even though I was short, fat, and barefoot, I ran and jumped off the porch and onto the ground. Such delights are long behind me. More than most things, the absence of such abandon ails my soul.

Uncle Charles removed his shoes and tossed them onto the planks of the porch. “It’s going to rain,” he said and laughed. He was wearing black socks. As a lover of all things barefoot, socks seemed ridiculous. Black socks made less sense to me than keeping a snake in the underwear drawer.

A few random pops sounded from the galvanized tin roof. They came more quickly. The air temperature dropped several degrees. Then came the deluge. The drops were so heavy that they pounded against us. Uncle Charles walked the few feet over to the edge of the bean field and stood in the perimeter of dirt there. The dirt quickly became soaked and muddy. I followed him. The mud between my toes was a sublime pleasure.

As Uncle Charles stood next to the bean field with me, we both quietly watched as the edge of the rainstorm enveloped us, the adjacent road, then race away. The rain pummeled the metal roof behind us and everything in its path.

Uncle Charles put his hand on my left shoulder and smiled.

I witnessed the possibility of a life filled with small joys in the wrinkles of his face.

We stood there, even as Aunt Helen shouted from the porch for us to get our fool heads inside before the Lord could come to take us.

The rain. Us.

I don’t know for certain that I’m not still standing there.

 

 

Insulin Available On Request

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I was shopping and entered an actual Photo Shop.
It changed me.

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It is a sublime pleasure to order a cafe mocha – and after the options are presented, to inquire whether ketchup is available.

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Just as I was about to check the “I am not a robot” box, it occurred to me that if I had been built carefully enough, I couldn’t possibly be sure.

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Whatever “the worst thing in the world to see” might be, I bet #2 is “Worst papercut in human history.”

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That guy was so efficient that even during Christmas he insists on taking a ride in a two-horse open sleigh.

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To the guy with the world’s longest arms, all shirts are short-sleeved.

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I went to the Photo Studio at the mall. I asked if they had a prison photo package.

“What do you need a prison photo package for?” the owner asked.

“I feel like I’m definitely going to murder someone and want to be prepared.”

As the security guards threw me out, it dawned on me that not everyone appreciates honesty.

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Part of the reason they don’t invite me with greater frequency?

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Evidently, I like antiques. I base that solely on the company I keep.

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The sign above the door indicates JCPenney but I’m pretty sure I’m in hell.

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While waiting for a root canal in the waiting room at the dentist, I fell asleep. I woke up, screaming, after dreaming I was actually at the DMV.

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He suddenly realized he might be crazy after all. Someone had done bunny ears in all of his selfies.

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While “more cowbell” is a cultural phrase, shoppers at Walmart do not enjoy me ringing one directly behind them. #truestory – Me holding a megaphone in the other hand as they turn to see me is probably worse.

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I must be in the Xmas spirit.

A particular person has been evil all week. After giving the benefit of the doubt several times, someone became really angry at him/her. I intervened and said, “Let me handle it.”

A while later, he/she spouted off again, so I stopped and stared.

“What the eff are you looking at,” the loudmouth asked.

Not missing a beat, I said, “I really admire assholes!”

I high-fived the previous victim so hard I might have left actual skin.

It’s tough out here in the world, where assholes run free and often unencumbered.

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Today I Learned: “Turning the other cheek” and “mooning” someone who has aggrieved you are NOT the same thing. Sorry, shoppers.

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I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus under the mistletoe. Better than last year, when Donald Trump was under there.
-From the yuletide songbook, “Non-Consensual Xmas”

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“Saying you went to Buffalo Wild Wings because you’re hungry is like jumping off a 100-story building because you need to air-dry your hair.” – X

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“Take a hike,” she said, although not out of any concern for my health.

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A co-worker questioned the amount of gray in my hair. Thanks to White-Out, there is now no doubt.  ( “White-Out – Not Just For Paper” )

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*Breaking news: a man was seen in an East Springdale cemetery, armed with a gun. Hundreds reported dead.


(No one was injured, though. My apologies if this joke offends someone – or everyone. I edited it to avoid the overactive social media police.)

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