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Zombie chunder

OK it is official- I have finally finished the Christmas decorating for the inside of the house, and the front porch.

Warning! TMI female issues under the cutCollapse )

WWJD? (What would Jim do?)

It has well and truly been such a long time since I posted anything, that I'm sure everyone thinks I have been abducted by aliens for some forced anal probing. All I can say is, if any E.T.'s try something like that, they'll get what they deserve. It's turkey week.

Yep- I'm making one now, not for the special day of course (that is a ways off) but because it got left out and started thawing prematurely- and now I have to cook the damned thing. No matter how it is prepared, if I ingest even a sliver of the stuff everyone in the immediate vicinity will soon be suffering from the miasmatic vapors that my bowels will produce. Just smelling it cooking in the oven has the ol' guts primed for business. Since I have a dinner party tonight which (hopefully) will be attended by a dear girlfriend I havn't seen in years, I should abstain from partaking of this fletus-fowl, no matter how succulent it appears to be.

Now if I were a different type of person (someone shameless and passive aggressive, for instance, like maybe- Dad?!) I would load my gut with copious amounts of turkey and broccoli, followed by that magic fermenter- oranges! Then, after donning protective undergarments (who wants to ruin one's underwear after all?) I would go to the party anyway. Then, whenever I felt the need to let one slip, I would find an excuse to "check on the kids" and steal away to the playroom for some stealthy fart-ninja action.   

The greatest thing about this plan is that kids will naturally assume the other kids did it, plus they are situated at exactly the right (butt-level) height to receive the full brunt of any air biscuits I happen to be floating about.  But I am just not that mean. It would ruin the party to have to resuscitate someone's almost-asphyxiated kid- and it would likely be me doing it. There will be plenty of nasty children in attendance without my having to resort to biohazardical warfare. I'm sure boogers and farts aplenty will be flying around in abundance. Kids are gross that way.

In other news, that witty lexicon of irreverence known as the Urban Dictionary has an entry for a word that I thought was our own invention- much like the boys on South Park thinking they alone had cleverly invented "mung". While we don't aspire to even the pretense of cleverness, we have been using the word so long to describe my father's behaviors that it has actually become his nickname.

"Grundle" is the word (vb. transitive; to putter about aimlessly in a cantankerous, particular, and semi-productive manner.) "Grundling" is what he does when he is soaking the mucilage off the back of postage stamps, or sorting flashlights. It requires a bit of eccentricity and more than a touch of OCD to be a proper grundler. It had gotten so we were even describing folks we knew who had these same qualities as "grundly", thus making the verb into an adjective. One such "grundly" person happens to be the host of the party this evening!

The Urban Dictionary has several definitions for the word, none of which are anything like ours. The principal one is this: Grundle (n) The area between the balls and the asshole- specifically the wormlike spot of skin where the balls and the taint meet. (Refers only to the male taint) Some speculation exists about the origin being from Beowulf's "Grendel" (loathsome hairy and foul thing/ slayer of many- yep, could be a taint I guess). In any case,
I was greatly amused by this new and different definition for our word. It has a certain appropriateness, you see.

My father and a good friend of his used to stock up on breakfast burritos and chili before going to the swap meet- precisely to engage in dastardly "walk-by fartings" on the unsuspecting children there. (So this plan of mine is not an original idea- at least, not new to me. ) Dad describes with fondness these memories- of how he and his friend were able to clear entire aisles -outdoors mind you- of people so they could progress through the tables unimpeded. Why was this bombardment even necessary in the first place? So one of them could secure the "prize" of finding the most hideous, tasteless, atrocious piece of kitsch available at the venue! The one condition was that it had to cost $1 or less. It was a friendly competition, and the esteemed article would doubtless find its way under the holiday tree of one of us kids, or on the doorstep of an unsuspecting neighbor.

Regrettably, I possess few of these gifts any longer. But I did use them. The wall-mounted condom machine was briefly used as a bank, but it only took quarters. It is still mounted at my old house, where I hope my sister has made better use of it. A lucite potty lid and seat with real sea creatures, starfish, shells, a seahorse- imbedded in it was used until the bolts sheared off- it had to be replaced. The nativity scene carved out of a coconut was a favorite for a while, to be replaced by even worse examples of tasteless religious iconography. Frighteningly, my wristwatch with a praying Jesus on its face was openly admired by many at the junior college I attended at the time. And not in an ironic sense either- which was the spirit in which I wore it.

Saddest of all is that "Uncle Jim", our dear family friend who accompanied Dad on these amusing forays into flatulence, is no longer with us. Hearing my kids joke each other into "pulling my finger" makes me remember him, and his avuncular teasing. In two weeks I will futilely watch the mail for his (usually obscene or sometimes merely tasteless) holiday card. No more masturbating plastic Santas or Jesus in a lowrider t-shirts. No more tales of his latest repugnant diet- (jalapenos only for two weeks, for instance). No more emails, some of which "NSFA" (not safe for anywhere). The festive air (literally and figuratively) of the holidays will be never be the same without him here.  Even though he had no kids of his own, he was a teacher at an alternative school for hoodlums er, "at risk youth", in that bastion of political correctness, California. Whether or not this jaundiced his view of kids in general, or influenced his irreverent ways I cannot say. I can only imagine myself in his underpants and try to predict  what he would do with a whole cooked turkey and an upcoming party crammed with rugrats.

He would grease up the ol' grundle and gorge himself on as much turkey as possible, 2 hours prior to the event so the sphinctral sonata would be at its most vibrant. There is a chance my girlfriend will not be coming to the party, making the festivities even more ripe for exploitation- I'd hate to be in error and let one loose in adult company. I won't know until we get there if she made it- so do I err on the side of caution and abstain?

In memory of my Uncle Jim, I will throw caution to the winds and have a wing on the way there!

Somebody pray for the children.

It will be a supreme day of emotionally draining, psyche-destroying, back-pain inducing labor. Imagine a property with 7 or so adult (read 3' or more in diameter) trees and more small ones dropping their summer coats and a third of their branches all over the yard. Now envision cleaning it up- one wheelbarrow at a time. Add to it about 5 ricks of rotten recluse-infested firewood (too seasoned to sell except as incendiary devices) And a garage filled with shite of questionable value- which can't be totally thrown out wholesale because it was put there by demented pack rats.* And I mean that in a nice way.

We are spending the weekend cleaning up my grandparent's house. The outside part. Ironman spent almost the entire day over there yesterday, having taken a day off his normal desk job to suffer in the swelterous heat.  At least it was all only a physical pain. I know that doesn't lessen the need for aspirin, but at least he wont have to double up on antidepressants after being there- which I will most certainly have to do.

He and my dad filled a 22 foot long industrial dumpster 2/3 full of debris, and only half the yard is finished. Even so, he is optimistic that if everyone helps, we could be done in a day -with the outside stuff at least.  This is not the best time for us. Our own house is a total mess- and has half dozen unfinished structural projects on the inside alone that will need completing before fall, which is when it will be on the tour of historic homes.  Our pool looks like an open sewer, and neither yard has been mowed. The chicken coop is a nightmare of overturned boxes and bins- which I can't really get too angry about because Ironman needed to move all that stuff so he could reinforce the wire on the windows to keep the murderous raccoon out- it had made an encore appearance and killed Wolfbait's favorite chicken.

We live 40 miles or so from the property in question- and today will entail a detour to a friend's clear across town to deliver Nugget and Bubba so I can work too. ( Otherwise I spend all my time saying things like "Put that slug down!" "Not there- that's poison ivy!" "Roly-polies don't belong in my car's coinholder." "No, I do NOT want to see what is under that rock!"  I have to put in a day at least, to make Ironman feel like he and Dad aren't the only ones doing anything, but even doing that much is almost impossible with high-maintenence kids in tow.

It is supposed to rain this morning- then the temperature is supposed to climb into the low 90's. Which means steambath time. Nothing brings out the loathesome gastropods like rain and leaf litter- so I will be taking a pile of gloves with me- (too bad they don't make gardening gauntlets.) And a cooler full of water.
My dad will be helping for a bit- but he is old, and takes meds that interfere with his sweating and blood pressure- and has no business doing any labor like that anyhow. He should stay home and sort his raccoon dick bones or something.

This is the house that I thought of as home. We moved 5 times before I turned 9, and it was the only constant in my young life. Whenever I had a dream about going home, or returning to a place of safety. it was here that I came to. Now it is a neglected and abandoned shell- yet I still see the fence my grandpa let me help build, the sidewalk where I put my initials, the place where we hid a time capsule- and all the plants my grandmother nurtured from transplants (she never bought a plant in her life). She would take me around the yard, pointing out the various living things and telling me their (almost always) Latin names.

Thank god we aren't going inside. At least I won't be, if I can help it. Just going in there like it is now makes me feel like I've been kicked in the stomach.

* Although they were both a bit on the Alzheimery side, both my grandparent, having lived through the Depression, saved everything- no matter how worthless, in case they might "need it later".  Because she was growing a bit dotty, none of the important stuff was kept separate from the worthless stuff. We found their marraige license inside a cookbook- nothing can be thrown out- it must be examined first. I keep hoping we'll turn up an ice chest filled with silver dollars or something.


A day of cuteness

Nugget played hookey so we could go into Helltown and capture the kittens living under my Dad's shed. But first we took a detour, and saw the precious kitten larvae at naamah's house. None of the photos I took (they were squirmy as only grub kittens can be) are as good as the ones currently up on her journal. But I did get some photos of the shed kittens. It took every ounce of restraint I possessed to not bring one home with me. It would surely be Meat for the ravening Grendel-beast.
Behold the cuteness!


Behold Grendel, Render of Souls!

This malignant creature showed up on our doorstep about a year and a half ago. The other cats heralded his appearance with shrieks and howls of distress and dismay. More than once they had to be brought inside to escape his bullying.
He came, he conquered, he ate, then conquered again. Ironman just had to "pet the nub" as he is obsessed with the ridiculous stubs that manxes have. That was the end of it. The beastly baby had to stay.

I named him Grendel, because he comes in the night to tear and destroy. Ironman tamed him, I got his nuts removed, and he has been the thing on our doorstep ever since. Here his is channeling the spirit of Cartman. But Grendel is fat and big boned.

He is extremely obese. Roughly the size and shape of a pug. He does get exercise, other than beating the other cats into submission. He follows us when we go for walks. He will go with us up to a half-mile away from the house. He has actually warmed up to me lately, flummaging into my lap for petting- he will butt his head into anyone with pat-giving potential. He can knock Nugget and Bubba off balance doing this.

Here he is in a less-than-fearsome pose. Don't let this fool you- he can lick more than his privates. He frequently chases dogs off the property, and once kicked the butt of three pit bull pups (larger than himself) while I watched.  His ear was permanently damaged in some fight prior to our knowing him. We think he might also have lost his tail, and not be a true Manx. He actually looks more like a Birman. You can't see it in these photos, but usually his fangs are visible.


Not many things are as moving or sweet as a baby's first (non-gas induced) smile. Especially when you are the receiver of said smile- so I must with envy describe my sister's passel of hairballs first purrings in a similar vein. In a toss up I am not sure who would win- but I can promise that unless the baby was my own, it would be the kitten paws down!

I myself was an ugly baby. Really. So fat, that multiple chins aren't adequate to describe the blubber- no, I had a dewlap. I was also a drooler, and had an enormous head.  My hair was clear. Like fishing line. You could see through it- no pigment at all. And I had a wandering eye, that mostly wandered in- making me look like a cross-eyed retard.  Plus I was profoundly nearsighted, (getting glasses at 18 months- not that I wore them) so I fell down the stairs and walked into walls a lot. Basically I sat around cross-eyed, covered with bruises, straining to hold up my head and drooling on myself. Had I been born in a different century, I most certainly would have been left exposed on a mountaintop as wolf food. My mother was so sure that I was going to be "simple" as she so delicately put it, that she worked extra hard with me so I that I would not live up to my moronic appearance. I have a baby picture of myself- that never fails to elicit guffaws of laughter from my own children- who, being beautiful, simply can't wrap their brains around the fact that they could possibly come from the same genetic stock.

Perhaps it is because of these humble beginnings that I appreciate those things that have intrinsic beauty, or are zenlike in their unattractiveness. Like chihuahuas, hairless cats, and scrotums.

This could be a slightly more aesthetic clone of the chihuahua I used to have- Toady. Her tongue always hung out. She would submissively drag herself along the ground, only using her front legs. Her athsma was pretty bad, and she snurfled and snarked like a truffle pig all the time, but more so when dragging herself. At one sci-fi convention, I had her with me for comic effect and I happened to meet Tom Savini. Even the master of special effects awesomeness had to bow down before the toad! He ran and got his video camera to tape her. I imagine he uses her for inspiration when trying to engineer a legless zombie crawling along. I am flattered and proud that I had been able to give this man even just a moment of entertainment, vicariously through my ugly dog.

One must not forget that the ridiculous chihuahua is, like all dogs, a descendant of the noble wolf. It was Mankind that perpetrated this upon the canine species, through selective breeding. Just what, I sometimes wonder, would be the result of centuries of selective human breeding, if it were legal.

Perhaps this.

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Trouble at the Turd Laundry

This entry is being composed at the wee hours of the night, as I can't sleep.

 My husband, Ironman, is away on business to Armadilloville. He has to fix a problem at the turd laundry.

I find it difficult to sleep alone, not only because I miss the euphonic tones of his snoring, but because I have nowhere to sandwich my icy feet. Ironman is the inventor and designer of a line of turd counters, commonly used by water treatment facilities to tally up just how much poo is in the fecal brew that they collect and chemically attempt to purify before releasing it "back into the wild" as it were. Armadilloville is replete with such counters, and whever something goes wrong with one of them, he has to go check it out.

He also designs several other products that measure rate and quantity of the effluent and flow from municipal drains and sewers. I have often wondered just how small these meters could be made- could he, for example, engineer a tiny one that could sit unobtrusively on my labia and beep loudly whenever my monthly geyser threatens to exceed the capacity of the pathetically inadequate "feminine hygeine" product I happen to be placing my cynical faith in? Could he make little level meters for the toilet that would beep once the water is displaced when someone (like my Dad) drops some particularly fat kids off at the pool? How about a diaper gauge that beeps when it is at maximum capacity? I am sure many parents, victims of dookie disasters, would be willing to pay a little more for this advanced warning. I am not one of those parents though, as I have officially changed my last diaper.  (Until I have Grandkids, which, judging by the lack of female interest in my eldest son, may never happen.)

 I guess it is conceivable that my father could suffer some ignominious fate and need Depends, but knowing him, he wouldn't be changing his diet- so I hope for his case that medicare would pay to have a nurse come by and help him out. Anyone who eats bean and braunschweiger sandwiches washed down with cranberry juice and raisins is definitely not on my shit list. He certainly couldn't count on the other spawn doing any diaper duty (heh heh doodie), as  I don't think my sister,
naamah_darling has ever changed a diaper in her life.  She should have to though, to make up for all of hers that I changed. I bet just one braunschweiger load would more than make up for all her toddler poo. I don't blame her for avoiding this onerous chore. It is doubtless my fault. She is probably just coprophobic because of a little game we used to play as children.

We were eight years apart, and I had to do a lot more for her than change her diapers, which was okay because I had been babysitting kids far more vile than she by the time I was 10. She was smart, weird, and pretty much did what I told her, obeying me better than she did our mother. So it wasn't really all that bad being in charge of her. I actually liked and enjoyed children in general- even considered becoming a teacher. This insanity persisted until I realized that there was not enough xanax in the world that would enable me to cope with the idiotic spawn of sub literate mouth-breathing hillbillies that would doubtless be my lot to endure. I had a sampling of such wastes of skin when I was a substitute teacher for awhile. The only decent class I managed to get was a week long assignment I got replacing a high school drama teacher. Everything would have been great if it was merely showing them how to act like a giant turd. Though it would doubtless look great on my resume, I had to keep this little secret from my employers-  for I was an expert turd impersonator.

I did not use these powers for good, however. When my parents left me alone with my sister, I would torture her by climbing into a brown sleeping bag and slurking around after her making fart noises.  Thus terrified, she would run away shrieking and try to hide under the bed. Writhing about and scooching caterpillar-style across the carpet is not the fastest form of locomotion, but even as slow as I was I could still capture and tickle (through the bag) the hapless toddler. I am sure no permanent mental damage was done.

 As with any good performance art, the stage must be set. First, I convinced her that the toilet had backed up and released this gargantuan living turd monster. Then, brandishing a toilet plunger, I bravely went forth into the bathroom (where I had secretly stashed the sleeping bag under the sink) to vanquish the foul beast in a doodie death match. While I was in there I would make all kinds of battle noises, yell and scream, "I'm done for- it's got me! Run for your life!" then emit a loud gurgle with my "dying breath".  All would, of course, be quiet for a time (as I was busy climbing into the sleeping bag, which was not easy in that cramped space!). During this intermission, I was sure to begin making the fart sounds that surely must be the only form of communication possible for such a creature. You would think, given this pause in the action, that my sister would run and hide while she had the chance. But like those poor birds that freeze with terror at the sight of a snake, she just stood there, immobile- as a farting chunk of cyclopean scat came squidging out of the bathroom, hellbent for mayhem!

This was not a unique occurrence. This demented game was played more than once, often with her little friends to witness it. I have to admit it was more fun to be the turd in front of an audience, as terrorizing her alone really wasn't very challenging, and thus remained unsatisfying. I think she must have eventually figured out it was me, but by then I had enlisted the aid of my best friend who could stand in for me as the turd, ( my "unturdstudy") so naamah could see me battle it- and refresh her belief. It was not too difficult to get into character- to "find my motivation", if you will. Every time I climbed headfirst into that noisome, vaporous bag, I had no trouble whatsoever imagining myself as a concentrated mass of mephitic matter.

 Neuroscience has demonstrated the link that the limbic system, the seat of our emotions, has with the sense of smell, making any olfactory sensation capable of conjuring up an emotionally charged memory. The sleeping bag in question belonged to our father, and was used almost exclusively by him on our numerous campouts. By numerous, I mean at least 30 nights a year. Dad was a notoriously light packer, but a heavy eater. When we camped, we "roughed it", meaning we may or may not be located near an indoor latrine, running water, or soap. His favorite camp foods were beans, eggs, aerosol cheese, crackers, trail mix, and vienna sausages. He would wear the same outfit all weekend, becoming quite gamy after about 30 hours of this bowel-insulting diet and no showering*. Given that you could smell him upwind from several yards away, and that he was almost single handedly responsible for the skunk ape rumors at Roaring River, you can only imagine what the inside of that sleeping bag smelled like. And there I was putting my face down inside- almost in the exact area as Dad had his butt- (and sometimes his feet!). It is amazing testament to what a kid will endure to facilitate the torment of a sibling!

This bag of horrors was rarely washed. It was only on one occasion, unfortunately long past those whimsical games of turd tag, that I ever saw it in the laundry. And, alas, it was to be the last time that anyone saw it. There was to be another brown bag, but this one didn't have the silky, puffy exterior and golden insides that made the Doodie bag so perfect as a turd substitute. Being plaid inside, this new bag would hardly do as a replacement for the original.  Sadly, the the Doodie bag met an end. befitting its role in life, becoming so irreparably befouled that it had to be permanently retired. It wasn't my dad's fault either. The cat was to blame.

It was Dad's cat, which is not surprising. An enormous Maine Coon, this obese creature was not only fat, it was in truth, also big-boned. The thing weighed 23 pounds, and was the size of one of those black and white sheepdogs. In fact it was once mistaken for a dog when out romping around the front yard. Its voice did not match its body- you'd think it would emit a Cartman-like "meh" or something, but when it mewed, it sounded like a squeak toy with a broken squeaker. Its fat doubtless kept it from inhaling deeply enough to produce a more manly miaow. Perhaps to make up for his effeminate voice, he was a prodigious crapper. This cat could clear a house with the merest tablespoon of poo. The concentrated stench of his malodorous droppings would have been impossible to contain in any mortal litter box. He mostly went outside. I say mostly, because there were way too many incidents where he didn't, and one of these fecal atrocities was responsible for retiring the Brown Doodie Bag.

The laundry folding chore was one that more often than not fell to me, and my Dad would pull everything out of the dryer and dump it onto the couch. Many loads would accrue (with no one- especially not my mom- taking the initiative to fold them) there until he would threaten me with grounding if I didn't deal with the pile. It was a summer day, and I was due to go swimming with a friend (the same one who played stand-in for me as the turd). Dad issued the ultimatum that I had to first fold the laundry, otherwise I would be going nowhere. This was just as well, for I couldn't find one of the strings to my bathing suit top (I was only 11 or so, so I could still get away with wearing a string bikini) and planned to look for it in the clean clothes.  As I began to fold, I could not help but smell a decidedly feline-fecal stench wafting about. I prayed it was merely a case of flatulence, as Dad's cat was also quite the threepmeister. I would have traded a month of nightly Dutch Ovens for what happened next. As I reached for another piece of laundry, my hand sunk into something wet. Coupled with the smell, I knew instantly what it was. That repulsive creature had shat in the clean clothes!

But this was not the worst.

The pile was impossibly large, semi-solid, but yet it maintained an amazingly soft-serve like quality- even having a jaunty curl on top. Just like a dip cone from Dairy Queen, the surface fairly glittered with a chocolate-colored sheen. Colors seemed to swim beneath the surface. Was I hallucinating? The reek was pretty bad, but now was I seeing things? I of course began to yell and curse (allowed in our house- especially in times like these), running to the kitchen to wash my hand. Dad came running, and together we surveyed the scene.

 "Jeezus Christ! What the hell is that?" he had gathered up the courage to attempt to remove the scat mountain from its nest of clothes. As he lifted it partially, using prodigious amounts of paper towels, an earthworm-like shape began to protrude from the side of the crap. It was entirely the wrong color for a worm, being (from what we could tell in its poo-occluded state) various shades of yellow, pink, and blue.

"It's my bikini string!" Guess I wouldn't be swimming now. The stupid cat had apparently swallowed the string, and had it pass all the way through his digestive system, culminating in a vibrant display of scatological sculpture, complete with smell-o-rama. And the canvas for this sphincter painting was none other than the Brown Doodie Bag! As a testament to its appropriateness as a turd disguise, the bag had perfectly camouflaged the cat crap, so even though I could smell it, I had my hand wrist-deep in it before I visually determined that something was amiss. There were other clothing casualties; I think a sock and a nightshirt had also been tainted, but the Doodie bag had definitely received the brunt of the intestinal impact.

The denoument of this tale is that I did get to go swimming after all, borrowing a suit from my friend. The fetid clothes, including the Doodie bag were nuked for morbid     removed from circulation. Dad said that no amount of washing would ever be able to remove the smell completely. Chlorine bleach might have, but nothing was really bleachable.  There was nothing to do but triple bag the poopy items and put them out for trash day.  I had to bid farewell to a special friend.  Even though a stinky scat-stain would have lent an air of authenticity to my turdish impersonation (I guess it would be inpoosonation in this case) the bag was admittedly overdue for retirement.

My sister would never again be the hapless victim of my evil scatological schemes. But my legacy will live on, because I have kids. They too will learn the special feeling that you get when you pretend to be animated excrement, for we will be going camping soon. I will definitely be buying a brown sleeping bag.

It was often during these times when he would pull the "smell my new deoderant" trick on his hapless children, and of course we believed him when he claimed to actually be wearing some. If he was, I wouldn't be buying any stock in Mennen or Old Spice anytime soon.

Easter Zombies

We, like most people with kids, do the annual Easter celebration. It is pretty much an orgy of chocolate bunny desecrating and peep-eating. We have a wonderful yard for hiding eggs, as there are no dogs to befoul it with their crappings. We do have real fowl- chickens- and a bunny,  but their poo is pretty innocuous and dries quickly, leaving a relatively harmless substance that readily composts and actually improves the soil. We made our festively-colored fart bombs, set out the Easter baskets, and the kids generously left out a plate of carrots for the Bunny, in case his blood sugar level was dropping after being up laying eggs all night.

Most importantly, I had the forethought to acquire the actual Easter gifts ahead of time. And expert advice from Nugget on what would be the most appropriate gift for Bubba.

Naturally, it was zombies.

He is totally obsessed with zombies- having watched Resident Evil a half-dozen times and playing endless zombie shooter games on Newgrounds. They don't frighten him, but he thinks they are gross and likes to pretend to shoot them or whack them with a lightsaber*, which to me is a better outlet for his violent boyish tendencies than torturing his sister. For Halloween, he went dressed as a zombie pirate (that is his sister dressed as Wednesday Addams). Last Christmas, his one decor requirement was zombie nutcrackers. Previously he had been really into nutcrackers in general, as they look rather sinister with their scary teeth and chomping mouth, and are usually dressed as a soldier of some kind, thus making them doubly appealing. He has quite a collection of them, with a pirate so far being his favorite.

His sister and I artistically managed to create zombie nutcrackers for him by prying off the hat, caking the hair with blood, painting brains on the head, and removing limbs. We muddied up the clothes a bit as well, with amazing results. He was thrilled.

I had already prepared myself for this holiday by stocking up on all the chocolate, peeps, jellybeans, and small gifts. I had been hoarding a shadow skelecat for Nugget, but was unsure of what Bubba's gift should be. A creature of few words, Nugget responded to my queries for advice on an Easter toy with a wry, "What could be more perfect for Easter than zombies?" Plus they glowed in the dark!

You may be thinking that it was her knowledge of her brother's interests that caused her to make this suggestion. It was nothing of the kind. It was from purely spiritual motivation that she offered up that opinion.

To understand why I made this conclusion, I offer up a bit of background:

Last year Nugget was participating in a church sponsored game-show style quiz team. It required a lot of reading and memorization of various Bible verses**. She was given a study guide with several dozen long, and short verses and  Bible facts and trivia. Kids were awarded points for reciting word-perfect memory work (verses), and for being on the winning teams (trivia). They could trade the points in for prizes and trinkets at the "Bible Time Store" . Twice she memorized the entire book, (the only child to ever have done so), so she was pretty knowledgeable for a child. She really raked in the loot. (I could start a Bible store of my own after 3 seasons of this)

We are not religious, but we do live in a small town. The first thing we were asked when we moved here was not, "What do you do for a living?" or  "What are your hobbies?" It was instead, "What church to you belong to?" I had avoided confronting this for several years, claiming to go to church in the town we had moved from. But it became apparent that we would have to at least send Nugget so she could have some social contacts outside of school, and prevent ostracization. It would have been certain social death for her to loudly betray her Humanistic Unitarian upbringing by announcing that she questioned the tenets of Christianity. I also believe that this civilization borrows so much from the traditions of Western religion that any educated person must school himself in those traditions to have a full cultural understanding. I think that all educated people need a background in the main form of religious thought prevalent in their country- just not be forced to choke down the dogma that goes along with it. So despite our being a family of Godless Heathens bound for the fiery furnace in an air-conditioned handbasket, I felt less than hypocritical about sending Nugget to Sunday School. She, on the other hand, saw it as an opportunity to flaunt her brains and memory, collect prizes, and socialize.

It was just after Ash Wednesday last year, and on quiz night  she started questioning me about some of the "weird ideas" she was being "exposed to".  I think something must have been mentioned about the resurrection- and that it was the "true meaning" of Easter. So later on, thoughtfully, she asks me if  "those church people" are really serious in thinking that Jesus came back to life. She wondered if he really had died in the first place (and was merely "revived") and I explained that the way it is written, it could be taken to mean that he came back to life and went ahead to the next town, or that his body was moved before Magdalene got there. Since people claim to have seen him up and about after his supposed death on the cross, it is assumed by Christians that he came back to life in a miracle and that is what they are celebrating.

After contemplating this for a while, she  disgustedly remarked, " So then what they're saying is that Easter isn't about springtime and baby chicks and cute little bunnies and flowers- it is really about the zombie Jesus back from the dead and walking around? Gross."

Of course being a member of this family she knows that zombies are the undead and all- and I tried to explain that the Easter Miracle wasn't quite the same as reanimating dead tissue (as in a zombie) . I was laughing too hard really to make a good point- I just wanted to avoid her mentioning her thoughts at church. She had already been heavily questioning all the teachings so far- and found little logic or sense in the verses she was memorizing. Frequently she complained about clumsy syntax or excessive verbiage in the verses- though she didn't put it that way. She mentioned that many stories were "idiotic"- and I had the suspicion she looked at the whole thing with the same suspicious eye through which she viewed other mythologies.

So it was quite natural, actually that she made the comment about the appropriateness of zombies for Easter, since it is in essence what she thinks the Christians are celebrating.

We are all about the baby chickens though.

*A perfect zombie-killer if there ever was one!

** The first bit of trivia she memorized was the 10 plagues of Egypt, using the mnemonic device of putting the words to music, sung to the tune of  the "James the Cat" cartoon themesong 

Go on, sing along- you know you want to.

"The Nile turned to blood; Frogs, lice, flies; Death to the cattle; Boils on your butt; Fiery hailstones; Locusts that drone; Deep, deep darkness and...death to the firstborn sons, Plagues are fun!"