Friday, September 25, 2009

Aunty Christ needs a self-esteem boost

Overload overload.

Before I go on, I should say that I detest sects, brotherhoods, guilds, groups in general, any assemblage of morons congregating for reasons of profession, tastes, or similar manias. All these cliques have numbers of grotesque characteristics in common: repetition of type, their jargon, their arrogant conviction that they are better than everyone else.

I can see that I am complicating the problem, but I see no way to simplify it. Besides, anyone who wants to stop reading this account may do so now. He should know immediately that he has my unqualified permission.

What do I mean by “repetition of type”? You have undoubtedly noticed how disagreeable it is to be with someone who has a tic in one eye, or whose lip is constantly twitching. Well, can you imagine a club of such people? Such extreme examples are not necessary, however. Merely think of a large family, in which certain traits, certain gestures, certain intonations of voice, are commonplace. I once had the experience of falling in love with a woman (without, of course, declaring it) and then fleeing in terror when faced with meeting her sisters. And something truly horrendous happened to me on a different occasion. I had admired certain traits in a woman I knew, but when I met one of her sisters I was depressed and ashamed for days: the very traits I had found so desirable seemed exaggerated and distorted in the sister, slightly caricatured, but not greatly. The vaguely distorted vision of the first woman that I saw in her sister, besides the impression I described, made me feel ashamed, as if in some way I were partly to blame for the slightly ridiculous view I now had of the woman I had so admired.

-The Tunnel, by Ernesto Sabato

Over the past few weeks I have been fixated on this part of what I should point out, in case you haven’t read it before, is a really, really wonderful book about a couple of my biggest obsessions: obsession and the unreliability of memory. It’s so, so good.

I really need to read it again, actually.

There is an actual, specific reason I bring this up now, but in a more general sense I admit the fear of being seen as a repetitive type has always haunted me. Because, yes. I have witnessed these clubs of lip-twitchers, and they are creepy.

But more specifically, this is my silly way of saying that I’m spending too much time online lately, or in the wrong corners of the internet. All the blog commenters sound alike: they are a repetition of type. “We hate all ladies who aren’t Megan Fox!” they howl. Or, “Everyone hates me for this really stupid reason, and that’s why I must scream about personally being very awesome!” Or, “The Bible says if you-uns get cheaper health insurance from the government, I can’t feel awesome about having my own health insurance, and that’s why you should not have that!”

It is infuriating. Everywhere I look, there they are: threads of quasi-people with identical tics. Even when the tic displayed is exactly the same as the one I see in my own face—especially then, rather—it freaks me the fuck out.

Also, here is another thing that is freaking me out. This was posted on Craigslist, in the Strictly Platonic section. He is sane and he will not rape you. Call now, ladies. You can’t afford not to.

self esteem boost/will not rape you - m4w - 21

Date: 2009-09-25, 9:03PM PDT

looking for someone to hang out with and watch a movie tonight... im 21 and sane need i say more :) and like the title says wont rape you!!!


Why do I get the feeling that Nick is going to rape me? Paranoid!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Aunty Christ mans up

I found this blog the other day, and laughed and laughed and laughed. It appears to be abandoned now (the most recent post is from April), but by god it gives us wonderful insight into the inner thoughts of a complete fucking moron.

For a basic overview of the blog’s viewpoint, take a look at the “categories” the author of this mess (who calls himself John Bryan Stone and is also the author of a book titled Have a Great Midlife Crisis) has given the two most recent posts:

Abuse, abusive wife, being bossed around, bossy wife, business startup, divorce, domestic violence, man bashing, marital abuse, marriage, married sex, men’s issues, midlife crisis, money, recession, sex life, spousal abuse, why men cheat, wimp, wives dominating husbands, women hating men

Affair, financial recovery plan, revenge, abusive wife, beautiful girls, being bossed around, business startup, divorce, extra income, finance, girls, husband abuse, man bashing, marital abuse, maritial abuse, marriage, married sex, men’s issues, midlife crisis, money, older men with younger women, relationships, secret lovers, sex, sex life, why men cheat, wives dominating husbands, young women

So, apparently, women come in two flavors: Old Bitch and Young Girlfriend. Neither one has a purpose outside of either beating down JBS’s fragile psyche or building it back up again through the use of her fresh pussy. This title of a post from January is similarly revealing: “The New You Must Get Rid of the Old Her.” At first I had hopes that what JBS was actually saying was something like, “Hey guys. I know not every marriage is completely rotten. Some women are nice to the men they marry. Some relationships provide a nurturing place where both partners can find what they need. This blog is not addressed to men in those kinds of relationships, but to men in relationships that make them completely unhappy, which sap them of the will to live, where they feel awful about themselves all the time, and presumably their wives aren’t feeling so hot about themselves either. These men need help (from me, JBS, or perhaps a paid professional).”

But no. JBS also promotes non-monogamy for men who love their wives. Why? Oh, I dunno. Why not? He actually doesn’t give a reason, but only says: “Some men find it perfectly acceptable to love their mates and have extra women on the side. Still others do some experimenting, only to discover it was not what they expected, and they go back to their previous arrangement.” I mean, why not, eh guys?

The thing I find repellent here isn’t the promotion of non-monogamous behavior (although his strict avoidance of the words “use a condom” is a bit odd), but the assumption that all men are the same. I guess if monogamous marriage is a construct created by women to control men, it necessarily must be selfish. But I don’t know. Is it always? Don’t some men get something out of it? I can only speak for myself (a woman—and I realize that I can hardly disprove JBS’s point this way), but I feel like having secret affairs with several women in order to boost one’s self-esteem because society has decided it has no use for 40-year-old men, would be (1) stressful and (2) pathetic in a way that is unlikely to lead to healthy long-term self-esteem boosting. As to (1)—(2) being so obvious as to not need explanation, I think—I was, in my younger years, a cheat, and I have to say that it led to no end of guilt (which, not everyone is wired like me, so I concede that not every cheat will have that result) and confusion. Like: “What the fuck is this one’s name?” “Did I tell this story already to this one?” Plus: Double the games, double the mind-fucking, double the personal neuroses. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just saying that multiple partners at the same time is not for me—and I’m sure the male population thanks god for this daily—and I imagine that some guy out there somewhere has thought this through and come to the same conclusion.

In other words, JBS’s assertion that everyone must do that which makes him smile has flaws.

But let’s look at some of his other words, shall we? There’s no doubt lots of other great advice he’s giving middle-aged men. I mean, he wrote a book, didn’t he?

Quote 1:

Even if you can’t stand the repulsive old thing, you have to fuck your wife according to the law. Many states will classify lack of sex as "abandonment."

Yikes! So there she is bitching at you with her saggy tits flopping while she slogs around the house in her old ratty robe, and if you don’t fuck her, the judge will punish you in divorce court!

Isn’t that state-sponsored rape? The state is raping you–forcing you to have sex with the skank your wife has become.

I wonder if you could use the Worn Out Pussy plea?

That, to be fair, was JBS at his most rage-filled. The Worn-out Pussy Plea (how charming!) has really only been tested in 14 states, so it may not work for everyone. But really—state-sponsored rape? He’s joking, right? Let’s see—you could either divorce your wife (who may or may not be sick of pleasuring your also-aging body) or have sex with her. Or come up with some other solution that you both find suitable. Yes: That is the exact definition of “rape” and it doesn’t cheapen the term at all to use it in this way.

Quote 2:

It is time to be a man.

Stop embarrassing yourself by obeying your mate. Stop asking for permission and approval. Stop being a boy.

Announce today to your mate that you’ll be a partner but not a servant. Tell her you will expect her to be responsible for the emotional atmosphere around you–she no longer has permission to whine and bitch without regard for how it affects you.

Announce to your boss that you are going to be making him some money, and you want him to keep his eye on you.

Go to the Small Business Administration and learn how to start that business you’ve been putting off.

Get the girl, make the money, achieve the dreams. Be bad. Be good. Roar.

If the last quote was JBS at his angriest, this quote is pretty representative of the general tone of his blog. Some of it is fine: “You’ll be a partner but not a servant.” Some of it is less fine: “Stop … obeying your mate.” Some of it makes me laugh: “Announce to your boss that you are going to be making him some money, and you want him to keep his eye on you.” (Because you’re a character from Mad Men, I guess?)

Oh, I don’t know. I mean, it’s fine that he’s telling guys to go out there and do something cool with their lives (that is what he’s telling them, right?), but there’s just this undercurrent of awfulness to everything he writes. “Be bad. Be good. Roar.” And this: You, dear sir, will not be “obeying” your mate, but she needs your permission to whine and bitch—or, you know, express herself? Nice.

Quote 3:

It’s time to be a bad boy. It’s time to pick out that one person who did not deserve your forgiveness and go after them. Make a plan to bring them down.

Here are some nasty things you can do that will make them sorry they messed with you:

1. Turn them in to the IRS for tax cheating;

2. Send a letter to their boss thanking the company for all the free stuff/services you’ve been getting through this person;

3. If they own a business, go to their waiting room and leave porn magazines in the reading bins;

4. Start emailing them anonymously as a member of the opposite sex and lure them into embarrassing/incriminating email conversations. Forward those emails to their coworkers, boss and friends. (Careful, your internet provider may give you up. Find out how to hide your identity–it’s in my book.)

5. Key their car.

6. Confront them at a party, at their office or in some other place that would embarrass and hurt them. Name their deeds. Most people will believe “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and lend some credence to what you are saying.

7. Accuse them of having child porn on their computer.

8. Tell their friends you got a sexually transmitted disease from this person.

9. Go to their church and ask THEM if THEY have asked for forgiveness! Do this in front of the congregation.

10. Announce that you are no longer a doormat, and they had better make it up to you now or else.

Don’t endanger yourself physically or legally. Take time to exact your revenge. Make a good plan and think it through.

When you are done with this person, move on to the next one.

This is my fucking favorite thing ever. I love this. Key a car. Spread slander about other people and ruin a life. Whatever you do, though, don’t be anything but passive-aggressive. Don’t tell people what this person actually did to you—and for god’s sake do not actually confront this person. And—I cannot stress this enough—do not allow yourself to get over what this person did to you. Let it ruin your life, just like you’re gonna ruin his Chevy’s paint job. Goddammit. You deserve that.

Oh, there’s more. Lots more.

“Our society gets nervous when men show their testosterone. Especially men over thirty. Somehow, people get the idea you’re going to lose control, go crazy.”

Really? Really? I kind of thought society loves it when men show their testosterone. Oh—well I guess his explanation makes more sense. It explains why professional football players aren’t paid a living wage, and why liberal Hollywood never, ever makes movies about Big, Tough Guys. (Especially when they’re over 30! Sly Stallone basically dropped off the map after he turned 29, etc.) So, you got me there, JBS. I will admit defeat on that one.

On the rest of it, though? He’s a big colostomy bag. In a post titled “People Are Getting Mad About This!” he writes, “All I said was men need to stand up and live the lives they deserve. I had no idea how many people would be against that! Apparently, there are a lot of women, and some men who are well-trained, who think men should be ruled, controlled and kept down.” In fact, whenever someone disagrees with him he seems to trot that one out: “Alls I ever said was that women shouldn’t abuse their husbands! Why are you attacking me?” Which, if that was all he was saying, I doubt anyone would have a problem with it. (Although, having met people, I will say there’s always a couple fringers on any position. It’s not impossible that someone would comment, “Hey! I NEED to beat my husband, and believe me, he ENJOYS it!”) But that’s not all he’s saying, and he knows it. He’s also saying (my words), “I don’t feel like a big, strong man, and I need to blame someone for that. I resent my wife for getting old, so she seems like a good place to start with this blaming. I also never really have been on board with the idea that women are actual people, so I am going to try to date as many young women with low self-esteem as will accept me, in the hopes that that will somehow prop up my manhood. In addition, I am a whiny little baby who still harbors a deep rage towards anyone who has failed to recognize me as the wonderful man I want to become, and I will key their cars in revenge, just like a jilted lover in some teen stalker movie.”

Forget the great midlife crisis, dude. I’ve got a plan for a pretty good life.

1. Don’t be a rotten person.

2. Don’t become involved with rotten people.

3. If you find that you are involved in a relationship with a rotten person, get out of it.

4. Repeat as necessary.

See? That wasn’t that hard. Now, pay me $19.48 and shape up, ya’ rotten, rotten piece of shit.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aunty Christ surprisingly finds that ad executives may be less than completely honest

I know what this is, but I don’t like it. This is some advertising executive’s version of when I was 16 years old, hanging out in my basement with my friends, and my dad would come downstairs and tell that joke about the pirate’s zipper, and instead of glowering at him and directing him not to embarrass me in front of my friends, please, I would say, “Ha ha ha, that’s super funny, Dad.” And then, as if it had only just then occurred to me, “Hey, can I borrow the car tonight? We’re thinking of catching a show in Chicago.”

Untruth #1:

Americans are always finding ways to be more responsible.

Untruth #2:

People are smart.

First of all, let me apologize. These commercials have been on the air forever, and it’s only now that I’m getting around to making fun of them. But honestly? There are so many things to make fun of. Who has the time?

I’m going to say that if there is one belief that all the people of the world are united in, no matter what country they live in, what religion they subscribe to, their basic philosophy, class, gender, educational background, race, political leanings, fashion sense, age, taste in music, marital status, or general mien, the one thing that everyone can agree upon is that people are not smart. And Americans are provably not always finding ways to be more responsible. I mean, I’m only one person—I know!—but I spent my day:

Sitting on the couch.
Looking at things on the internet.
Worrying about stuff.
Yelling at the thug dogs, who bark at everything.
Worrying about some other stuff.
Eating again.
Kind of watching TV while looking at things on the internet.

I can’t even remember the last time I, personally, found way(s) to be more responsible. I guess it might have been that time I realized that watching TV while looking at things on the internet and turning on all the water taps in the house is maybe a little much. But I, of course, am not “Americans.” Perhaps Americans as a whole have been a little more responsible than Aunty? Perhaps we can think of a few examples?

Um, no. I think we can say for a fact that Americans are always finding ways to be more vindictive. Americans are always finding ways to cut corners. Americans are always finding ways to justify their stupidity. Americans are always finding ways to celebrate their stupidity. And people—whoever they are—are generally not smart.

Frankly, I might buy a car from the company that told me that.

“Hey, American. Guess what? We’ve done some research, and we find that generally, people are pretty worthless. A person may be smart. A person may be resourceful. But people? Forget about it. Anyway, we’ve made these cars, and we plan on selling them. If you want one, stop by and ask us about them. If not, that’s all right too.”

I think I’d buy that car. I’d think about it, anyway.

On a completely different issue: Everyone in the world reads boing boing and thus already knows this, but they recently posted this horrifying video of a lady removing a botfly larva from her scalp, which, man! That totally takes me back. When I was living in Remote Mountain Village, I house sat for a lady who owned four small dogs and two cats for what seems like several hundred weeks but was probably, like, 10 days or so. During that time, I noticed a boil on the neck of one of the wiener dogs. When it started to bleed and ooze pus, I took the dog to the vet, who extracted—that’s right—a botfly, about the size of a quarter. Which was the second-most-disgusting thing I remember about that week.

A few days later, planes flew into two towers in the World Trade Center, and they collapsed, and everything changed, but we weren’t sure how yet.

The next day, to get ourselves away from CNN, my friend and I hiked to a meadow outside of town, and sat under the aspen, in silence, broken now and then by the fighter jets flying out of Colorado Springs. And as we talked about what had happened and what would happen next, we came to the conclusion that the only rational reaction the U.S.could have was to systematically cut financial ties to the Middle East by decreasing its dependence on oil.

And then we realized who was in charge of crafting the U.S. reaction. And man. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

As much as I want to be able to just drop the whole Bush anger thing, on the eighth anniversary of that day I remembered that sinking feeling and felt I needed to honor it.

And say to DiTech and BMW: You say smart? You say resourceful? You don’t fool me. I remember George W. Bush.

Truth #1:

Botflies are repulsive.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Aunty Christ thinks you're a whiner

Here at the Aunty Christ blog, PRIORITY IS JOB ONE!

You like that, huh? How about:


Crap. I don’t know. I’m thinking I should incorporate this shit, right? Rich Bachelor is always going on about how he wants someone to just go ahead and publish his writing. I’m not so artistic-minded; I just want a business card and some lousy tax cuts. What will Aunty Christ, Inc., do? I dunno. Same thing the others do, I guess. Read into that what you will. The complaint line is down for the moment. There was a typhoon in Karnataka or something.

So what were we talking about anyway? That’s right: Whining. I watched the first hour last night of the new season of “America’s Next Top Model” and learned that women 5 feet 7 inches tall and shorter have lived under the harsh yoke of oppression in this country long enough, due to their not being able to become models. Thank the good lord Tyra Banks has taken it upon herself to free said shorties from such oppression. I say hallelujah! I mean, I require a lot of identity-pain viewing, and there’s only so much fat pain the contestants on “More to Love” can vomit all over the confessional booth: They never went to prom, or had a date, or their dates were always embarrassed of them, or they feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit. They would like the viewing audience to know that unlike every other person on the planet, they’ve felt pain, goddammit.

And now, we learn, so has this group of women who are both really, really gorgeous and fairly average in stature, at about five and a half feet. They’ve always wanted to be models and they’ve never been able to be models! Unlike everyone else on the planet, who get to be models all the time! It’s so unfair!

It seems to me that as the tent of oppressed peoples becomes ever more expansive, the easier it gets to (a) overlook the fact that some oppression is actually more damaging than others, and (b) confuse the issue. As to point (a), it’s kind of unfashionable to say, but I’ll say it: Some oppression really is worse than others. (Ergo, some girls’ mothers’ oppression is worse than other girls’ mothers’ oppression.) It’s clearly nothing but awful that petite women’s dreams of modeling can never be fulfilled, but when weighed even against the pain of the “More to Love” girls, it seems pretty weak.

So we move on to the really bewildering question: Why? Why do we feel the need to identify—and compete—with the oppressed and the beaten-down? If there’s a prize for who’s been hurt the most, it comes only in the form of having the conversation stop being about those other guys and their pain and start being about us and our pain. I get it. Somewhat. Someone’s going on and on about how difficult it is to be a Muslim in America after 9-11, and sooner or later you’re going to have to say something about how it’s equally hard to be a Christian in this day and age, what with the war on Christmas and the legalized abortions and whatnot. Just to shut that Muslim up, right?

Of course the other thing we get by complaining, besides a voice in the complaint soup that is our national dialog, is pity. And who doesn’t want pity? Crap, I want pity. Until I get it, I mean. Then I’m all, “Why don’t you keep your pity to yourself, Mister Man. I don’t need your pity! I’m just complaining about how awful everything is.” My theory? With pity comes embarrassment. All you wanted is to be heard and to be counted, and you were counted all right. You were counted as a loser. An oppressed. An other. But you never wanted to be one of those. You just wanted to say something and have other people care for a minute.

But it’s hardly a new thing, all Americans trying to prove that they’re the poorest little baby, so why bring it up now, Aunty? First of all, let me just say that I’m so sick of whining. Me! Everywhere I look, I see another reason to feel sorry for myself. And pointing my finger at everyone else for how badly they’re acting is my way of deflecting my own guilt. But I’ve also been chewing over this blog post and comment thread over at Shapely Prose, and let me say first of all that I totally get it that a fat lady (such as myself) has enough in life to deal with, and doesn’t necessarily need the added stress of having to convince people that she is, indeed, fat.

We’re talking about the “Oh no, you’re not fat” syndrome. Which the Shapely Prose contingent seems to blame exclusively on society’s inability to parse the fat = disgusting/sloppy/smelly equation that the media constantly feed us.

Having been one of those naysayers several million times in my life, however, I can say that there are a lot of things going on here. Such as:

1. I’ve been an American woman all the years of my long, long life, and as such I have had many opportunities to comment or not comment on many women’s weights. It’s not like I haven’t thought about this. Women—stick-thin and not—have been sidling up to me since I could speak, almost, saying, “God, I’m so fat!” And most of the time the correct-est answer to this plaint is, “Oh, no you’re not!”

Because no answer is actually correct.

2. But the question remains, why am I even being given the opportunity to say “You’re not fat”? Sure, every once in a while a person is going to say something like, “I don’t feel like going to the Gap with you, because they don’t carry my size,” and then the other person will say, “What are you talking about? You’re not fat!”

But probably 98% of the conversations that contain the words “You’re not fat” stem from someone saying, “I’m fat.” Which is—although it needn’t be—a complaint 98% of the time. And when you complain, the listener generally feels compelled to offer a suggestion or make the problem go away somehow. Which is why we end up with would-be well-wishers saying things like, “Oh, I’m sure your car wasn’t towed,” which is what I actually said to Rich tonight, even though I had no idea where he had parked, or what the parking rules were in the area where he had parked, or, you know, anything. I wished that he wouldn’t worry about getting towed, since his worry wouldn’t solve the problem. And I was hoping that he hadn’t been towed.

This isn’t an exact comparison, but when I’ve said “You’re not fat” to people who have expressed to me that they are so fat, what I’ve meant is more, “I hope you’re not beating yourself up about your weight, because I care about you.” Or something like that.

3. Other things that I might mean are:

“You’re not fat.” As previously alluded to, even the tiniest birdlike creature will occasionally call herself fat within the earshot of a larger person such as myself. Clearly, the desired response is “You’re not fat,” but what else can you say? (Glaring meanly works too, depending on your goals.)

“You don’t look fat to me.” I don’t know how much my friends weigh, and I can’t do a BMI calculation in my head.

“I don’t know you well enough to discuss this with you, or to know what you want from me.” Going back to point one, denial is the tried and true response.

“You may actually be technically overweight, but using a rough estimate of the average fatness of people I see everyday, I would guess that you’re no fatter than most people.”

You know, it’s possible I’m setting myself up as one of a special class of oppressed people whose oppression consists of being annoyed by the complaints of other oppressed people. But damn, if I had it my way? People might actually listen when other people’s complaints are valid, instead of only opening their own yaps to complain how they too have kind of been mistreated. Or maybe they’d try to understand, even in a limited way, other people’s responses to their complaints, which may be valid or not, welcome or not, endlessly repeated or not, instead of leaping to the conclusion that the world is set up in a way that justifies their insecurities.

Not that that will cure all that’s wrong with society, of course. Oh, not by a long shot.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Aunty Christ wants her blunch now

Above the side door is a majestic sign that reads (in part) “NONE OF.” Whether the hidden word was “YOU” or “THAT,” I never learned, but equally tantalizing was the front-entrance signage, which promised all who entered “BRUNCH + LUNCH = BLUNCH.”

(I like the first two definitions here, but we’re talking about something different.)

There was a discussion later in the weekend about what, exactly, brunch is in this day and age. Brunch circa 1980, of course, consisted of a pastel color scheme and several long tables upon which one might find such attractions as Fruit Mountain, Dry Eclair Plate of Doom, and Ham, Hand-Carved to Suit Your Needs! You could have, if you so desired, a slice of pink roast meat and a cantaloupe wedge completely devoid of flavor and a crystalline parfait cup of chocolate mousse. All before noon!

These days, we think it means boozy breakfast, but I digress. We are here to discuss icon, Seattle’s foremost purveyor of blunch.

The restaurant, icon—with its maddening lowercase i—was not far from where capital-i I, Aunty Christ, hotelled for my birthday weekend celebration of turning Old. Having never had blunch, even at my advanced age, it became a destination.

Never mind that the restaurant seats 168, according to the sign on the wall; Rich and I were the only ones in there. (Aside from the 15 or so staff, who sounded like they were having a wonderful time sorting silverware.)

So, the silverware was impeccably sorted (I guess), and the walls were a pinky-mauve, festooned with oh so much crap: glass baubles huge as pumpkins at a county fair hanging heavily in wrought-iron chandeliers the size of tractors; dusty, supposedly whimsical tchotchkes littering every surface.

Completely different than either 1980s or modern-day brunch, blunch is its own animal, consisting of a menu with lots of breakfasty-sounding items on it, and a separate, larger lunch menu. This restaurant we were at, which is called icon (see the lengths I must go to to avoid using your insipidly styled name at the front of a sentence, icon? Now change your name!), is one of those restaurants that specifically does not want its patrons ever to be able to decide what they want to eat, seeing as how its menu is so very vast and all-inclusive. Frito pie or sashimi? Korean ribs or Yankee pot roast? Veal schnitzel or moo goo gai pan? Eggs benedict or seafood gumbo?

Our waiter (who by all appearances was at least partially blind, but nonetheless also at least partially an asshole) started listing all the wonders of the blunch drinks menu, including seven (7) flavors of mimosa! Strangely, we were uninterested. Bring us coffee, Rich told the man.

Rich, upon getting coffee: Also, can we have some water?

“We’re a green restaurant,” the waiter says. “We don’t bring water unless you ask for it. Why, I’d let you die of thirst before I’d bring a table water. Ha ha!” Growing serious: “You know, every glass of water you take out of the earth is one less glass of water that’s in the earth.”

I do know that, actually, having slogged part of the way through this very interesting book. But now I can’t stop saying things like, “Every ramekin of butter you take out of the earth is one less ramekin of butter that’s in the earth.” And “Every order of pad thai you take out of the earth is one less pad thai that’s in the earth.” It really makes you think! Do we really need all these extras? These frills and whistles and doodads and geegaws? Can’t we just live simply and not always need and acquire and waste?

Well, maybe you can. It’s still my birthday season, and I want more.