In keeping with the recent commentary-on-a-comment motif into the self-referential depths of which this blog has recently plunged (if a blog may be said to have plunged into a motif, which contingency is, I admit, something of an uncertainty), today’s post is a blog comment upon which I comment.
First, the set-up:
Somebody saw an old post in which was featured a description of a dish I enjoyed at a trendy Austin foie gras shack a couple of years ago. Describing herself as “angered” by this, the reader wrote in to demand an explanation for my reprehensible foie gras-eatin’ behavior.
I was annoyed because
a) it blisters the spinster’s butt-barnacles whenever readers demand explanations for things. Particularly when the tone of the demand is sanctimonious, and the nature of the thing being demanded is personal;
b) I decline, cravenly and absolutely, to be seen as the head of some sort of cult who is expected to gleam with noble perfection and tow the party
line barge on every little goddam thing, using my personal, real, 3D self as an example to all; and
c) I had, as it happened, already thrown myself on the mercy of the Savage Death Island Grand Tribunal regarding human carnivorosity in general and foie gras in particular, and, having adjusted my views — in a Very Special farewell-to-bacon episode — to align more locksteppedly with radical feminist food doctrine, felt unjustly accused.
However, we spinster aunts are some of the most notorious fuck-ups in Cottonmouth County. So naturally I scrawled some asinine rejoinder, a scrawl I now regret. I meant it to convey a certain impatience with the habit of blog readers to hold blog authors to the same standards that they (the blog authors) daily espouse, and to suggest, dammit, that what I do on my own time is beeswax that ought not to be minded by the blametariat. What happens in Cottonmouth County stays in Cottonmouth County, by gum. Or something.
I must apologize to the angered reader. What she witnessed was not my finest hour, for the asinine rejoinder, it grieves me to reveal, alluded to my bowel movements.
Which brings us, finally and mercifully, to the comment upon which I am about to comment.
Quoth Pinko Punko:
I know Jill must use the most decadent and wasteful of toilet paper. Dried centipede husks are even a luxury for some people’s bits. Flagellate thyself!
Pinko Punko is absolutely clairvoyant! I buy only 100% silk toilet tissue. It’s made in Mongolia by blind orphans, from silkworms who are fed nothing but foie gras.
Speaking of centipedes, I’ve got an anecdote.
Yesterday afternoon I was lounging with a pitcher of margs watching that psuedo-documentary TV show about women who suddenly turn into homicidal maniacs, when there came a faint scratching sound from behind the lime green recliner. Fran, my yella Lab puppy, began yelping like a hellhound. Absently I hoisted the spinster keister and shuffled over to the hub of the hubbub. I was thinking it was probably just another case of Fran attempting to menace, like she does about 587 times a day, some random household object, such as a coffee bean, an errant dung beetle, or my foot.
Well, when I saw what it was I shot up about eight feet in the air and let out a yip, which wasn’t so much a yip, really, as it was a scream, and of the specific nature of that scream let me just say that the traitors trapped in the jaws of the Ninth Circle of Hell’s three-headed Satan could have done worse.
As you have no doubt surmised, what I observed was one of those giant Scolopendra heros. You haven’t really been yanked out of a pleasant afternoon torpor until a venomous, 7-inch, yellow-legged, needle-footed, red-headed, carnivorous invertebrate aggressively strolls across your livingroom floor, headed, in its belligerent, gazillion-legged way, straight for a flip-flop containing your personal foot. Picture an anaconda crossed with an armadillo crossed with the alien in Alien, with a chip on each of its 23 pairs of shoulders, and you’ll have it about half right.
Listen. I do my damnedest not to be an anti-Scolopendrite. I’m the first to admit that in the wild, as it biffs hither and yon with its hypnotically undulating legs and gaudy color scheme, gracefully rearing up to envenomate its prey (furry woodland creatures such as mice, bunnies, and wildebeests), S. heros is Truth and Beauty itself. But holy shit! Stick one in the Twisty Bunkhouse and watch a spinster aunt devolve into a sniveling (albeit in what I like to think is a slightly butch way) glob of eek-a-mouseterism.
I had to get rid of it, and fast, before it scuttled off into the woodwork. I didn’t want it popping out later, in the dank subumbra of night, to challenge one of the dogs to a death match, or — the thought paralyzes me even now — to crawl into my bed and up my nose into my brain, winding itself around my obstreperal cortex and turning me into a centipede-woman! A ticking time-bomb, if an arthropod may be said to tick, which (though an arthropod may be a tick) it probably can’t.
It was the aforementioned embarrassingly convolute and panic-stricken B-movie thought process that led me to my first gambit; I ill-consideredly threw on a nearby pair of heavy boots with the idea of smushing the enormous bug. We circled each other for what seemed like hours — me clomping, the centipede undulating — but in the end I couldn’t commit centipedicide. This is not because I entertain any sentimentality on the subject of centipedical right-to-life. It is because I possess a weakness of character; I am literally nauseated by the sensation of stepping on any entity that crunches. I can’t smush beetles, scorpions, roly-polys, or Rice Krispies treats, either, if I expect to keep dinner down.
Next I had the bright idea that I would put a piece of glue-board down and herd the thing onto it with a broom, thereby immobilizing it and allowing me to remove it via barbecue tongs to its original habitat. But the great beast wasn’t down with herding.
So I tried to nudge the glue-board into its path with my toe, with the comical result — wait for it! — that both the Scolopendra and my boot got stuck!
In accordance with my instinctual antipathy toward footal proximity to venomous arthropods, my amygdala jerked the affected limb away in a panic, but, because my life had suddenly become a Charlie Chaplin film in which “glue-board” was a metaphor for “poetic justice,” this knee-jerk merely strengthened the glue-board’s affinity for my boot. So what did I do? That’s right; I tried to hold the glue-board down with my other foot to facilitate the extrication of the first.
I bet you didn’t see that coming!
So there we were, adrenaline-crazed spinster aunt and incensed homicidal centipede, each with several feet mired in the same 6-inch piece of glue-board. And great Scott, this centipede had the strength of ten centipedes! It was breaking loose! No wait, it wasn’t just breaking loose, it was breaking loose and crawling up my boot! Already it was a quarter of the way to my obstreperal cortex! Scratching hideously with its gazillion needle-feet, its blood-red eyes burning with the icy purgatorial fires of impending doom as I pogoed impotently around the room, shrieking. What a tableau.
In all fairness, the centipede did have the physical advantage in this contest. If I’d had 44 more legs, and microscopic needles for feet, instead of 2 large glue-lovin’ boots, I might have been the one to get loose first.
Fortunately I’ve seen about a million movies where the action hero extricates himself from a tight spot by slipping out of his activewear, so, once I stopped screaming, for me it was but the work of a moment to yank off the boots, one of which was by now completely colonized by the glue-board and all but the last two sections of centipede, and heave the whole affair outside through a handy door. Finally, my neurotic obsession with antifeminist classic films paid off! As did my rigid insistence, against the advice of the baffled architects who designed the bunkhouse, on having 7 or 8 exterior doors installed in every room.
As has been noted by more poetical heartwarming nature crappists than I, centipedes “seem to exert a weird fascination on the morbid appetites of the hysterical and insane.” I know this is true, because I have written at least 3 posts [1, 2, and 3] on this species alone, and even made a movie. Inexplicably, the movie failed to beguile audiences, and went straight to video, where it awaits cult classicdom.