Great Tracts of Land


Categories: Canadian Politics, Canadian Politics, Rants, Tags: , , , ,

newbra This was another one of those yelly-at-the-radio days.

Listen, it isn’t very often that I’m actually *ashamed* of the place that I choose to live. I love this place 98% of the time. But then some ninny axes a film employment tax credit or some jackass starts up a petition against frigging strip clubs and I get a little tetchy. So here’s the deal. I’m sure you’ve already heard about this, and if you haven’t, I envy you.

A little while ago, Saskatchewan enabled some pretty sexist legislation. The gist of it is that we have now joined the rest of the filthy, heathen, craven and friendly-to-criminals places in the world that *allow* licensed establishments to feature exotic dancing – specifically, stripping – WHILE ALCOHOL IS SERVED. I know, I know, you’re clutching your pearls and reaching for the little tin of nitrous tablets you keep tucked just inside your girdle. You’re fanning yourself with the programme from this morning’s church service (where the sermon was “Wasn’t Jesus a Nice Guy? Like, He Was Really, Really Nice. Except To Some Of The Jews.”) You’ve screwed up your face into a tight little slit-eyes-and-pursed-lips potato and you are sitting down to write a letter. AND YOU MAY NOT OPEN IT WITH “DEAR” BECAUSE YOU ARE SO UPSET.

There is, of course, a catch to this legislation, but don’t let go of those pearls yet because it ACTUALLY GETS WORSE. Yes. WORSE THAN SERVING LIQUOR WHILE SOMEONE TAKES OFF THEIR CLOTHING IN PUBLIC. If you are a man, you can strip down to your loincloth, but if you are a woman, you have to truss up your milk taps. Because we all know that nipples killed JFK. And started the second world war. Probably at the same time because nipples, as we all know, can time travel. AND ARE RADIOACTIVE. It is, frankly, a wonder that any of us survived infancy at all. Thank GOD the dairy and pharmaceutical companies in the US put so much money into promoting infant formula!

…of COURSE I’m getting off topic.

[Reel it in, cenobyte. Reel it in.]

So MORE THAN TWENTY PEOPLE and groups will be speaking against a business owner who wishes to open a strip club in the industrial area (don’t worry, it’s nowhere near a bowling alley) in Regina. MORE THAN TWENTY. That’s, like, some kind of record. I think we only got seven speaking out against the stadium they’re building RIGHT NEXT TO THE EXISTING STADIUM. [And now we play ‘how many rage-inducing news stories can cenobyte fit in to one blog post?’]

Fine. Whatever. Speak out against strip clubs and show off your “Oral Roberts-Moral Majority-Right wing ultra conservative-Let’s try to get the church EVEN MORE involved in government” political leanings. Trot out your asinine (and, might I add, fallacious) argument that strip clubs mean organized crime, prostitution, and I dunno, probably scurvy. Trot out those arguments with absolutely no substantiation, no evidence, and, frankly, no common sense. If you just came right out and said “look, this is a knee-jerk reaction I’m having because frankly nakedness terrifies me”, I’d be much happier. But there are a few things going on here that grind my gears.

1) To the nutsack on the radio (“Rob from Regina”) who said “to these women who dance in strip clubs and have families, how do you look your children in the eye”, I’d just like to say “the same way you do, buttmunch”. People who choose to remove their clothing for money are exploiting very common human weaknesses: libido and voyeurism. You’re probably jealous that dancers can make more money in a weekend than you make in a month, *just by taking off their shirts and trousers and writhing to some shitty music*. The women and men who choose to dance at nightclubs are, by and large, not forced to do so. Dancing is an art form and a rigorous physical activity. Don’t believe me? Then get up in front of your television tonight and dance for an hour. Leave your clothes on if you’d like because everyone knows naked bodies are unclean in the eyes of the Lord. What is wrong with earning money by taking off your clothes? It’s a STRIP CLUB, not a goddamned BROTHEL. And if it WERE a brothel, there STILL shouldn’t be anything illegal about selling sex, but I fear I’m getting off topic again.

This may be the same nincompoop who said “I don’t want my children to have to see that every time we go to the pet store across the street; if this club opens, we will shop elsewhere”. a) Probably the businesses won’t notice your leaving, unless you drop several thousand dollars there a week, but the sentiment is appreciated; b) way to teach your children that avoiding an issue you feel strongly about is the best way to deal with it. Classy. Reeeeeal classy; c) I’m not making any judgements here, but when I go shopping for pet food with *my* kids, I choose not to stop at the strip club with them. I mean, that probably makes me some kind of Hitler, but the last time I was in Calgary and had to pick something up at a business across the street from the strip club, I just left the kids in the car with the windows rolled up and the doors locked and the engine shut off because safety first. They *were*, of course, wearing their safety helmets. It’s okay; I wasn’t gone more than a second. And they had their portable DVD players and watched reruns of Dora anyway. They kept begging me, “Mom, can we PLEASE go to that building over there that’s clearly closed in the middle of the day and has no windows and vomit in the parking lot? That place looks like a LOT of fun!”, but I just said no. Because sometimes, you have to say no to your children.

Astarte in Phonecia – statue from the Louvre, image from Wikipedia

2) The legislation itself is ridiculously sexist, and the application of it appears to also be sexist. It’s always really bothered me that strip clubs that feature women dancers do not have a cover charge for female patrons. I don’t understand that decision, and I don’t like it. I’ve been to several strip clubs, some “classier” than others, most featuring godawful music and a distinct aura of deep and abiding melancholy sadness and misery, but some of those dancers were bloody amazing to watch. I never much liked the lap dances, but then I read something about Astarte/Ishtar, who was a warrior goddess who embodied sex and fertility (her sister Asherah was the mother goddess, showing a distinct separation of sexual passion and motherhood, which some of us appear to have forgotten), and how she could control entire armies by dancing. She danced and inflamed the soldiers’ passions until they fought among themselves and kind of forgot to attack the thing they were going to attack. Then I think she killed them all and showed no mercy, but you know, this is why she is often represented as an “evil” goddess – we simply cannot abide women having any sort of power.

Again, I’m off-topic. I have a huge problem with the sexist nature of this legislation. I still don’t understand what makes female nipples so bloody terrifying; do strippers shoot acid out of them? Is that why female strippers need to wear electrical tape pasties? Are female strippers’ nipples wired to terror cells in the middle east so that crazed “radicalized” jihadists can personally identify western leaders and target them? [waves at the NSA – hope you enjoy the blog. Stay for some cookies after.] Oh, oh. *I* get it. Women’s nipples remind politicians of their grandmothers. THAT’S why they’re so scary.

3) You have no problem building your house within spitting distance of an oil refinery or a steel plant that probably pump tonnes of toxic whatever into the air right around the yard your kids probably don’t play in because teevee, but you’re getting your knickers in a knot over some people taking off their clothes in front of drunks? What is the worst that’s going to happen at a strip club? Some guys will have too much to drink and will try to touch one of the dancers or will start fighting over who gets to slip a $20 into Cinnamon’s thong, and they’ll be kicked out. Maybe some police will show up. Some woman will end up crying in the bathroom because her boyfriend whatever-whatever drama God I don’t miss my 20s. How is this different from *any other nightclub*? Gee. Call the national guard. Tell them people are morons when they drink and that someone, somewhere in your city has nearly naked boobies on display.

Why are you so afraid of men and women being sexually aroused in a public place? Do you not understand how SAD that really is? It’s the furthest thing from dangerous there is. Some poor schmo goes to the strip club to see naked people dancing (sorry: almost naked), has a few drinks, then goes home to have a sad and lonely wank over the Penthouse centrefold from January 1999. Or a bunch of women get together and actually can’t come up with anything better to do as a fundraiser or a night out together than to go to the strip club and watch oiled beefcakes shake their packages in sequined speedos. Several drinks later, those same ladies will be scrapping on the bus over some stupid thing that one of them said to someone else’s room-mate’s sister’s seventh dog’s previous owner.

Sex is entertainment just as much, if not more than, it is an intimate display of affection. Let’s just think about what else there is that we do which has been commodified, commercialised, and exploited. Sports, art, music, broadcasting, exercise, pregnancy, family, education, health care, agriculture, resource mining, renewable resources, food, labour, trades…Find me something that hasn’t had a reality show made about it, and I’ll concede that there’s a possibility that it hasn’t been exploited for money (yet). So why vilify the sex trade at all? And why vilify this pretty innocuous portion of the sex trade?

It’s just boobies, people. Just boobies. And junk. But mostly boobies. If you live in Regina and have an opinion on this, there’s a committee meeting tonight about it. Go have your voice heard. Whether you’re a pearl-clutcher (who is probably apoplectic after this rant) or not.




Categories: Uncategorised, Tags: ,

words-pageHere is a list of some words that I love:

Jackanape (also: Jackdaw)

*Some words on this list may not (yet) appear in the OED. That is no indication of the cromulence of the word, nor of its appearance in my everday parlance.

**Yes, yes. I know some of these words are hurtful or rude and are downright politically incorrect. I am a horrible person because the sound of them, the feel of them on my tongue, makes me happy


The Reason

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Categories: writing, Tags:

Royalty-free Image: Mexican Bathroom sign by Johnathan Hillis from

Royalty-free Image: Mexican Bathroom sign by Johnathan Hillis from


It finally dawned on her that the reason he’d left wasn’t because of anything SHE had or hadn’t done. It was because he’d figured out that she could hear everything he did in the water closet. Every. Single. Thing.


Miss Appropriate Or, Why I Stopped Looking In Mirrors


Categories: Everything Else Drawer, True Stories, Tags: ,

Diane Groves' "Fishwishers" image used royalty-free from

Diane Groves’ “Fishwishers” image used royalty-free from

I walk up the street and catch a reflection of myself in the window. I look away. The woman in that window is a woman reflected. She has backward thoughts. She cannot look in to her own eyes. The woman reflected is alone in that window.

In mirrors she moves backward, mixing up her right and left hands. She has imperfections. Spots on her chin or an extra roll around her middle. She notes with too much rapidity every wrinkle forming at the corners of her eyes. She catalogues every change, every sag, every pull of gravity and the stretch of every mashed potato. She frowns at the flame-red stretch marks reaching up over her belly from fifteen, ten years ago’s Rapid Baby Expansion. She says she is not good enough because she is no longer twenty. She is fatter. Softer. Older.

She says this as if youth were a panacea. As if smooth skin and a taut belly were measures of a woman’s worth. As if what made a woman important was the way men looked at her, how they wanted her. You can’t blame her for thinking these things. All reflected women know these things to be self-evident. The women they see, the women they hear, from the time they are born, tell them that age is a hateful, fearful thing. That women lose their power once they turn 40. That men won’t want them if they don’t pluck their chin hairs, and that a woman’s desirability is a woman’s worth. This is what reflected women learn. This is who they are.

So I stop looking at her because she is misinformed. Mislead. Misinterpreting. Miss Appropriate.


Eleven weeks

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Categories: Everything Else Drawer

IMG_9272.JPGThe view from the cafeteria looks out over Calgary’s wide valley basin. I watched the sun rise on one side this morning and now watch the sun begin to set behind the mountains. It’s the kind of view that takes you out past the horizon, if such a thing is possible. The sun rises and the sun sets and everything lies between those two points. Full of potential, like a pendulum at the height of its swing.

“They are twins,” the old woman said as we tried to peek under the blankets. “I’ll show you one and the other one will be just the same. It will be like you’ve seen both.”

She lifted the corner of the blanket and we saw a red-faced squalling baby with tiny balled fists and eyes pinched shut.

“How old?” We asked.

“Eleven weeks,” the younger of the women said. Were these her babies?

“They were triplets,” the old woman said. “And now they are twins.”

The old woman lowered the blanket. The young woman blinked slowly and turned to leave. Their long skirts shushed us as we watched their backs, their polka dot kerchiefs disappear through the heavy doors.


CRISIS! (Averted)


Categories: Just for You, Something or other but True, True Stories, Tags: ,

From SantaI don’t know about you, but I still write letters to Santa every year. This year my letter, after the perfunctory inquiries about Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, and the state of Santa’s socks, included a request for the Clauses to look after my wee cousin as he undergoes some surgery. Usually the boys and I write our letters together, but secretly, so that nobody knows what’s in each others’ letters. Kind of like when you used to play “Mastermind” (that classic game of trying to guess the shit out of your partner’s twisted mind as it pertains to setting up a row of four differently-coloured beads – we rediscovered it over ExMass this year and I was reminded just how beastly the game truly is. I love it.); we scribble our greetings and requests, and sometimes line drawings of the cats while shielding the contents from one another because some secrets are still sacred, thank #Glob for that.

We got our letters off late this year, so I was a little worried that Santa wouldn’t get them before ExMass, what with the post being overbogged at this time of year, but I have to tell you. We received replies on “Christmas Adam” (which is, The Nipper asserts, “the day before Christmas Eve because Adam came first, after all”. And to think we aren’t churchgoers (nor, in fact, are we Christian…nor in fact particularly religious except for my own quest for enlightenment which is at best ramshackle and at worst pretty handwavey. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with handwavey enlightenment. It’s sure nice when it’s hot out).


Often, Santa also leaves a hand-written note after his visit on ExMass eve. This year’s note was pretty awesome. I’ve…um. I’ve redacted portions of it to protect the “innocent”:

Dear [redacted],

I hope you will be happy with these toys. I haven’t received [redacted]’s Christmas list yet, but I think I still know what he likes.

SantaLetter2014[Redacted], I have had to have a talk with Jingle the Elf. He mounted the crossbow backward on your Zombie Strike Crossbow, and then he had an accident that kind of messed up your whole order. Jingle was put on a strict “NO NOG” list and will be in charge of reindeer poop next year. Sorry.

Mrs. Claus has shipped replacement items for you. I hope they arrive by the time you get home. The Terradrone was particularly badly damaged. I’m having Elf Ralph make a new one from scratch.

[Redacted], you have had a good year in sports. I was going to bring you new skates but I guess you don’t need them!

Merry Christmas to all,


P.S. I had some soup. It was a nice change from cookies.

[Not shown] P.P.S. You guys have weird stockings.

I should explain that I forgot our ExMass sockings in the exact spot I dumped them, unceremoniously, in the middle of our upstairs hallway, last year after ExMass. I probably should have mentioned my utter lack of domestic tenacity in my letter to St. Nick, but he probably already knows. ANYWAY. Our “stockings” this year were a bunch of cardboard boxes. Yes, we *did* have a white trash Christmas. Thanks for asking.

The Nipper’s whatever the hell they were things that he asked for (I have never even heard of this stuff before, thereby putting me solidly in the “old fart” category) showed up at some point between New Year’s Eve and this past Sunday. I had heard some horrific banging coming from the rafters, which I assumed was the cold snapping the roof beams, but apparently was a wobbly reindeer, because The Nipper discovered some stuff (a crossbow and a weird and very creepy robot that shoots darts) on his upper bunk while getting ready for bed on Sunday. And there was a note that said more about Jingle the Elf and how he felt terrible and how there had been a meeting where he acknowledged a Nog problem.

I mean. That was cool and all.

But it was nowhere near as cool as what happened to me this morning.

I’m sure you remember me bitching about how I was having a RIDICULOUS time trying to buy gifts online (particularly from ThinkGeek, which makes me sad because I do love their stuff, but they refuse to ship to my address, for reasons that are long-winded and usually end in tears). Well. It turns out that SOMEONE ELSE noted my Bad Attitude this year.

Dear [Redacted]:

In due course after the seasonal rush it has come to my attention that you have received poor service in the assemblage and shipping execution of much-desired gifts to your post office box, an address at which you have lived for ages, and one at which you are easily reached by those with a greater capacity for both caring and drink.

As you suspect, your troubles were entirely due to the inebriated incompetency of Jingle the Elf, whom Santa has relocated to the stringent auspices of my department for the twelve-month ensuing. Jingle (whom some of the lower order here at the North Pole have simply taken to calling “Nog” as a sniggering homage to his propensity for the rum-laced libation) has been put to hard labour in the bowels of the internet for his various misdemeanors.

Rest assured that I can hear his piteous moans and occasional whimpers as he proofreads BuzzFeed lists and GoodReads reviews of Fifty Shades of Grey – about the worst punishment I could see fit to tax him with. I am, however, not without some small morsel of compassion and do allow him the opportunity to read Your Blog as reward for good behaviour. [Editor’s Note: That could actually be construed as punishment in four states and the Republic of Guelph.]

Having read of your Dorothy Parker, the Effin’ Cold Weather in Saskatchewan, and your love of classic literature, he has had An Idea.

Therefore, in an attempt to curry your favour (and perhaps get back into Santa’s good graces in so doing), Jingle asked me to forward to you this small token of his sincere repentance and his wishes for your Very Good Health and a Very Happy New Year.


Enclosed, wrapped in black tissue paper, were cotton gauntlets printed with passages from Alice in Wonderland which, as you know, is one of my favourite favourites.

I GOT A LETTER FROM KRAMPUS, MOTHERFUCKERS! And gauntlets from Jingle “Nog” the Elf, who is on his journey to recovery, it would seem. HOW COOL IS THAT? (That’s might cool, yo. MIGHTY COOL.)

I love things.


To every taxation year, there must come an end


Categories: Everything Else Drawer

I do not believe in making “new year” resolutions. I do not celebrate the ushering in of a new year until spring. Yet with this taxation year coming to an end there are some changes I am focusing on, and have been focusing on, for a few weeks now.

My “second mum” told me over the holidays that there are certain things she no longer reads in the paper: crime; racially-biased or based stories; anything involving child abuse; and there was another one but I forgot what it was. All because very very few “journalists” report facts. We get it. Your newspaper/media franchise needs to sell copy. You’re a business like any other. And as consumers, we don’t have to buy a damned thing.

Therefore. I am making or have made the following changes with regard to media over the past few months, in an attempt to not have to suffer through so much insufferable twaddle:

1) I no longer consume US-style “news”. It is at best fear mongering tripe and at worst partisan politics masquerading as community concern/involvement. This includes talk shows, opinion panels, talking heads, and blowhards.

2) I no longer watch cable or network television. When I find a programme I enjoy, I purchase it or live stream it.

3) I am not interested in public religious debate. I don’t care what you think of Muslims or atheists or Christians or Indigenous spiritualism. The minute someone posts something about this I just walk away. It always causes more problems than it solves.

4) I will not and do not entertain pretentious bigotry masquerading as nationalism.

5) if a reporter asks “how do you feel about…” I turn the channel or the page. I don’t consume news because I want to know how people feel. I consume news because I want to know facts. I do fact check with multiple sources from different political franchises. Good reporting makes it utterly unnecessary to report on peoples’ feelings. If you do your job right as a reporter or as a journalist, your audience will figure out how people feel pretty damned quick.

6) I assume every athlete being interviewed is being asked about either masturbation or shower sex. This makes sports interviews bearable.

7) 90% of what people on social needia have to say is based on nothing but knee jerk reactions (myself included).

8) I never read the comments (unless they’re comments on my blog).

9) Nobody has to respect your opinion, nor mine. Respect must be earned. Whoever started teaching is that we have to respect one anothers’ opinions was just wrong. Listen to and endeavour to understand? Sure. I respect your right to HAVE and to STATE your opinion.

10) I refuse to consume “live coverage” of anything except Riders games. Nobody needs minute-by-minute reporting on a house fire, a tsunami, or a riot. That isn’t reporting; it’s voyeurism.

And strangely, I don’t feel out of touch or uninformed until someone asks me what I think of Lurleen’s latest music video or that movie with those guys who stole some fruit.


A list

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Categories: Everything Else Drawer, Tags:

Princess Sassypants

Princess Sassypants

Things #PrincessSassypants is afraid of:

  1. Leaves
  2. Certain kinds of paper
  3. The poop bag holder (that’s shaped like a bone)
  4. My skirt
  5. Little pieces of dust bunnies
  6. Her own farts
  7. The wind
  8. A stalk of grass
  9. Gloves (mittens are fine)
  10. Dining chairs
  11. The sound Twitter makes when I forget to turn off the notification sound
  12. The smallest dog at the vet (but not the biggest ones)
  13. The red blanket
  14. One of her four boots (but only one)
  15. Thunder
  16. “Treats from the sky!”

Things #Bumblebutt is afraid of:

  1. Getting kicked

Want to lay bets on which dog passed the “dog intelligence test”?


…when you look at it


Categories: Just for You, True Stories, Tags:

image "old photograph" used royalty-free with permission from

image “old photograph” used royalty-free with permission from

So after yesterday’s Debbie Downer post, I thought I’d just say another thing along the same vein. And that is, that while there is a very important role that grief plays in dealing with loss, where the actual MAGIC happens is somewhere else. What that mourning stage does is gets some of the sadness and hurt out – you know, when you cry so hard, and so long that you’re exhausted afterward and fall in to a deep, deep sleep? It’s a powerful purging. That expression of longing and loss and sadness makes way for something that I’m sure the Germans have a long, awesome-sounding word for.

And it’s this kind of happysad memory invocation, also usually spurred on by stories, where we actually can and do “celebrate” the life of someone we’ve lost. Yesterday I had a bee in my bonnet about the whole thing and here’s why: I was at a wake two years ago, and the MC stood up and said “we don’t want to see tears today; we want to remember him fondly and remember all the wonderful and amazing things he did and the great man he was”. And that’s great; that’s important to do. But it stuck in my craw because at that moment, that day, what we actually did need to do was to cry like banshees. And we did.

I remember the first funeral I went to, when I was eight, and the minister was talking about how wonderful it was that my Gramps got to hang out with God, and I thought, “yeah! Actually, that is pretty awesome, because he totally believes that’s going to happen. GOOD FOR YOU, GRAMPS!” And so I did have this moment of joy knowing that Gramps was getting to hang out with God. This was, of course, immediately followed by my own selfish knowledge that that meant that *I* didn’t ever get to see him again, and let me tell you, that knowledge has pretty much shaped my entire life.

But there is good, comfort, and even sometimes joy to be had in peoples’ passing, especially so if their death is an end to their suffering. And if you have faith in an afterlife, there are all kinds of awesome things a soul can go on to do! Honestly, that’s the kind of comfort that some people need. I think that’s wonderful, that you can find comfort there. There are many ways to find comfort whether you’re religious or nonreligious, theist or atheist.

Death is a very inward-looking thing. There’s nothing wrong with that. And honestly, one of the things that gets me the most at death services/celebrations/whatevers is that my heart breaks for the pain that everyone is in. I mean, whether or not I even knew the person. This one time, Drang and I went on a date to a funeral. I know that sounds weird, and trust me, it gets weirder. It was my cousin’s funeral; a young man who’d been murdered at a house party for trying to defend his ex girlfriend from her then-boyfriend. That branch of the family was pretty much destitute, and it was the first time I’d ever seen an actual cardboard box coffin and the little chapel filled with his peers and his parents and brother, none of whom could rub together two nickels to get a dime between them.

I wouldn’t have known my cousin if I’d have passed him in the street; I’d only met him once, and that was in passing and is a whoooole other story. But I watched my great aunt, his mum, come apart. I felt how heavy and melting people’s grief was, and I wanted to make it better, but of course, I couldn’t. Nobody could. Helplessness really blows. I remember walking up the street afterward, surprised at how emotional I’d become over someone I didn’t even know, whose life never touched mine except in the story of his, if not noble, then at least somewhat heroic death.

Kay. You know what? This was supposed to be a more UPBEAT post. I meant to say that there is a place for happiness and laughter at memorial services. There’s a HUGE place for all of that. I think the (rather abstruse) point I’m trying to make here is that we oughtn’t deny the power of grieving together to …well, to help.

So at my funeral I ALSO want you to laugh and fight and throw shit and cause a ruckus. A joyful ruckus (this might be the name of my next poetry book), a tearful ruckus (maybe a combination of those two things). I want you to do whatever you need to do to send me off. Fireworks ought to be involved. And possibly a New Orleans-style brass band. And filthy poetry. PLEASE promise me there will be filthy poetry. [Note: I don’t intend on dying anytime soon. I still have at LEAST 40 more good years in me, so you’re going to have to wait rather a long time for this awesome shindig.]



Not with a whimper


Categories: Just for You, True Stories, Tags: ,

I thought I would be much, much older before so many of my friends died. I thought I had more time. That’s the thing, isn’t it? We always think we have more time.

Well, we don’t. That’s just the thing. Cherish every single moment because while time is not finite, our lives are. We are so delicately, so miserably, so beautifully finite.

I am sad to say I have had more experience with funerals* and wakes and ‘celebrations of life’ than I would really like to have had at this point in my own life. And I have something to say about it right now. It’s not politically correct. It’s not going to make anyone feel any better. If you’re the sort of person who needs trigger warnings, well, there are probably triggers all over the damned place in what I’m going to say.

When I die, I goddamned well want people to be sad. I want you to mourn. I want you to grieve. I want you to sob and to wail and to gnash your teeth. Because grief and sadness have a place, an *important* place in our lives. We have to learn to let go of hurt, and the only way to do this – seriously, the *only* way to do this – is to grieve. To let that sadness wash over you in wave after wave of throat-stabbing, chest-heaving wave. To cry so bloody hard your tears dry out and your nose is raw from wiping away all the snot.

Grief is raw, it’s visceral. It’s not *pretty*. But it’s beautiful. Grief is one of those things that bind us to one another. It’s one of those things we have all experienced. Every one of us has lost a friend, or a pet, or a family member, or, what the hell, a beloved gewgaw, gadget, or toy. It’s okay to grieve for lost things. It’s okay to be sad. The purpose of grief, then, is to embrace that sadness fully in order that we can move past it. To experience it so that we don’t drown in it. To learn to swim, in other words.

I get what we’re trying to do when we say we’re going to have a “celebration of his/her life”. I know we’re trying to focus on all the great things our loved one did; all the awesome ways they made us feel good. We’re trying to focus on the good memories in order to ameliorate the heavy, bleak white and scarred landscape that our souls become when we lose someone. But at some level, that’s completely missing the point.

A while ago, for reasons that I only understand in terms of listening to what the universe is saying (I will not beg forgiveness for my understanding of how the universe works. I’ve done enough of that, frankly.), I wrote my father’s obituary. My father isn’t dead. I am terrified of having to face my father’s death, and I woke in the middle of the night and thought, “I’d better jot something down now because God knows I won’t be able to when the time comes, and since I’m the last member of his family alive (other than the kids, of course), I’d better do this now.” So I did. And I wept the whole time. My sobs shook the bed. I also haven’t…told my father that I’ve written his obituary. That would probably weird him out, so maybe let’s just keep this between you and me, okay?

You are bloody well right that I expect people to be upset at my father’s wake. He is a great man, with a great many friends, and his life has touched many, many others. He is a giving, caring soul, despite his many ‘accidents’ with my (former) pets, and I expect he will be mourned. He is utterly irreplaceable. What we will be grieving is that we will no longer have the chance to sit with him and hear his laughter. We won’t be able to make any new memories. The only way we’ll be able to be with him will be to tell stories.

Now, stories are powerful strong, and a good story can bring a man back until you can damn near see him. But not strong enough to feel his arms around you or to just sit at the table and talk. And that’s why we grieve. That’s why we NEED to grieve. And wakes and memorials are the time when we all grieve together. Where it’s okay to show our vulnerability. Our sadness. We are strong together in our weakness.

So when I die, you motherfuckers better be sad. You had better grieve and mourn and for those of you who don’t, well, I probably pissed you off right good and never got the chance to figure out what I did wrong. I do plenty wrong, and I do wrong things often. We all do.

I love having you in my life. I love spending time with you, or chatting with you or talking to you, or reading your words. You are important. You are brilliant. You are worth it. I have no idea if I’ll miss you when I croak. But when I do, I want you to be sad *together*. If there’s one thing I want my life to have done, it’s to have brought people together (with or without Very Awkward Verb Tenses). I want to have made a difference, however small.

So. Just so’s you know. I don’t want any of this “come and celebrate cenobyte’s life at blah-blah-blah”. I want “look, we’re all pretty miserable about this, so let’s all be miserable about it together, okay?”

And of course, part of this is spurred by the possibility (however real or imagined) that there will be five non-family members at my wake, and three of them will have been hired according to the tenets of my will, as traditional keeners. YOU KNOW I’LL DO THAT.

*I want to note here that the purpose of religious funerals is very specific, and that is to note and celebrate (in the sense of the word that means ‘observe in a religious rite’) the journey of one’s soul to whichever nirvana to which your religion adheres. So I’m kind of not talking about religion-based funerals in this little rant, although I’m sure I have something like that burbling away somewhere.


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