For tonight's reading at the Coffee House

I am currently calling this work in progress
I just received an email, forwarded from a relative, with the subject line in caps “JUST FOR YOU” which I see she has forwarded to everybody in her address book. It is some blandishment in which I am instructed to blandish as many people as possible by forwarding.
I search for irony, and usually love when I recognize it, especially the subtle stuff. I suppose this gives me a little sense of superiority, a nasty part of my dark side. Ironically I don’t always get the irony of someone’s statements—I’m kind of gullible and naive. Paraphrasing Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage: Irony postulates a double audience:
  • one audience that isn’t getting it,
  • and the other audience that is aware when more is meant than meets the ear, both of that "more" and of the other audience’s incomprehension of the “more”.
Some of the tiny ironies ahead may not be comprehended!
I’ve recently been asked to ghostwrite a book for a sales motivational speaker, the topic of which is branding yourself, i.e., developing your own personal brand and publicizing yourself through all available outlets.
After my mother died of lung cancer a few years ago, we were going through her papers and came across a few loose-leaf notes, written when I was a teen, in which she relayed the hurt of having me tell her I wished she would hurry up and die from lung cancer so I wouldn’t have to put up with the smell of her cigarettes. I don’t remember saying that to her but, sadly, I have to admit it sounds like something I would have said at that age.
Last month I was slaving alongside my husband like a Polish prisoner in a Russian gulag, helping him terrace our sloped garden, until I tumbled down the slope and seriously exacerbated a torn tendon and haven’t done hardly a thing since. I feel terribly guilty because he is doing this mostly for me because I was always tumbling down the slope and hurting myself while gardening.
For many years now my husband and I have had this thing where when we each get our hair cut we don’t say anything and wait until the other notices. Dan usually doesn’t notice mine for quite some time, and he defends himself saying I get so little cut off that it isn’t noticeable. In the past, Dan would wait until his head looked quite bulbous before going in, then getting it buzzed marine-style, and I could spot the difference from a satellite photo, but in recent years he tends more and more toward frequent haircuts with beard trims and a self-beard-trim midway between cuts (perhaps he is developing some well-deserved vanity as he does that male getting-handsomer-as-he-ages thing), and now I’m the one not noticing, often until halfway through the evening meal.
In college, I was in the habit of shucking off my bluejeans at bedtime and throwing them aside, to be retrieved the next morning and slipped on, still formed to my body, about 5 minutes before class. One friend snickered that she didn’t wash hers until they stood on their own after she took them off. Sloppy, grubby, naturally aged and frayed bluejeans were de rigueur* for us in 1981.
One morning, as usual, I plunged into last night’s sturdy Levis, and hurried off to a full morning of classes, scattered all over campus. Later, I met up with my boyfriend and his sidekick. We had a sort of a Mod Squad thing going. (Parenthetically, this was my second college boyfriend, but the sidekick was the same sidekick of the first boyfriend. Odd, but, not ironic.)
We went to the cafeteria for lunch, passing through the long line, eating at long tables, and then they followed me to my dorm where I could carefully languish casually and decoratively in the common room. As we passed through the foyer, sidekick told me I had a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe….when I looked down, said “oh yeah,” and reached to grab it, the three of us realized at the same time what it really was---my underpants—from the day before—that had hitched a ride with me all day, slowly slowly working down my leg to peek out from my hem. The story of how I survived that particular landmine is another reading for another time.
Footnote: I went to pronunciation.com to get the correct pronunciation for de rigueur and futilely but the site doesn’t exist--a shock!-- so I googled “online pronunciation tool” and got a site that pronounces out loud what you type in—totally cool! And available for other languages. The URL is http://www.howjsay.com/ .
Second footnote: googled is labeled as a misspelled word by Microsoft Word 2007. When will this word hit the dictionaries?

1 comment:

  1. Those who heard my reading will find it ironic that while watching Jeopardy just now, I did NOT get the question to the answer, "a five-letter word for (something) meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning....