Friday, March 26, 2010

Jackal Ate Your Baby

Good morning and good morning!

*Sigh.*  I've really got to start writing these blog posts on Thursdays, before I've got a chance to read the comments.  There really is nothing like reading Slate comments to put a blight on a spring day that would otherwise be full of sunshine and candyfloss.  The day could start out wonderful and then *BAM*, Cousin Jackal is reminded that the world is full of people who are thrice as judgemental as she is and who have the gall to lob the words "selfish" and "immature" at anyone who does not worship the Cult of the Glorious Infant.  Well, let's get on with it.  The original DP letters can be found here.

Letter 1:
My aging granny is dangling a juicy family secret over my head, hinting that my father is not my grandfather's son.  I've questioned her, and pried, and wheedled, and cajoled, and now I'm ready to move on to rougher tactics.  Can you tell me how to build a Salem-style dunking chair so I can wrest the information I want out of the old witch?  Or should I just put her on the rack?

Dear Hey Torquemada, Whaddaya Say?,
Granny is either hoping (stupidly) that giving you this information will ease your fears about your father getting Alzheimer's, or she's gone batshit caring for your grandfather all by her lonesome.  And yes, she's *given* you the information, because you don't need a magic decoder ring to get the message here.  If she dropped any bigger of a hint it would make a crater the size of Lake Tahoe.  In any case, howsabout we play some chess?  This is a special kind of chess that tells the future.  Intrigued?  Okay.  It goes like this:  Take a course of action and mentally follow it through to its natural conclusion.  See the end product.  Decide whether it will benefit you.  Got it?  Good!  You could, A) Demand the truth from Granny-->Tell your father he's adopted/illegitimate/from another planet/whatever-->watch Dad's heart break-->watch Granny's heart break when Dad asks her about it-->watch Granddad's heart break, if he's got any faculties left.  Sound good?  Or, you could, B) Look at that juicy dangling secret just hanging there waiting for you to grab-->Leave it-->Continue on with your life.  Which of these two outcomes is most likely to benefit you and all concerned?

Letter 2:
My ex-wife is a crazy fricking psychobitch from the fourth dimension.  She's papering the neighborhood with fliers besmirching my character and the character of my new lady-love.  We're afraid our neighbors may look down their noses at us.  Can I type up a rejoinder and stick it on everyone's windshield, just to make sure they're on my side?

Dear Self-Conscious Litterbug,
Cousin Jackal has a thing about unwanted mail that doesn't concern her.  Cousin Jackal especially has a thing about fliers.  In fact, Cousin Jackal has been known to take "Come To Jesus" church fliers off her car's windshield, carefully place them under a wheel, and then run over them several times just to make the point.  So if I'm one of your neighbors, Sunny Jim, you better realize that if I wasn't looking down on you before, if you make me aware of your petty little ex-relationship problems, I sure as hell will look down on you now.  See, if you were friends with your neighbors, they'd probably already know your ex was the PsychoBitch From the Fourth Dimension and ignore her ongoing idiocies.  But they're not your friends, are they?  They're strangers.  And you know what, Sunny Jim?  If you and your neighbors are strangers...fuck 'em.  Fuck 'em and fuck what they think.  Dirt. Fucking. Simple.

Letter 3:
My sister Eileen is a drama llama and wants to schlep her husband and newborn to my sister Karen's house for a layover during a trip.  Karen doesn't know what to do.  I'm a passive-aggressive sort who likes to pointedly refrain from giving advice under the guise of making people deal with their own problems.  What to do, what to do?

Dear Prudence,
Oh, sorry, for a minute you sounded like Prudie.  Contrary to popular response on the comment forums, this has nothing to do with the baby.  The baby is the MacGuffin.  Who knows, and who cares, why Karen doesn't want to lose sleep over hearing the little slug wail all night.  Maybe she works 24-hour shifts.  Maybe she works graveyard shifts.  Maybe she has her own embarrassing reason for not being able to have guests in, and that was the most convenient lie to tell.  Doesn't matter.  The actual problem here is that the whole family is walking on eggshells not to disturb the delicate sensibilities of MacGuffinMomma Eileen.  What exactly is going to happen if Eileen gets upset?  Here's Cousin Jackal's advice:  Karen, say no.  Eileen, shut the fuck up and find an EconoLodge.  And you, LW, butt the fuck out.

What?  Oh, you thought Cousin Jackal was going to go on a rant about babies?  I could. I can't stand the little fuckers.  And I mean that in the sense usually reserved for things like cockroaches and dried cat sick found behind the sofa.  (For the record, I have no siblings and no friends who have children. I live in a mercifully baby-free vacuum.)  I don't find them cute.  I don't melt in awe over their miraculousness. It annoys the living hell out of me to be commanded to treat the concept of someone's noisome little spawn as a gift from the gods, when all I see is a swaddled bundle of cooing vomit.  Baby animals I adore, but baby humans are just somehow wrong. They have no consciousness in their eyes; they bend in the wrong places; they're alien, wriggling things I cannot fathom and avoid at all cost.  It amazes me that people who call Karen from Letter 3 a heartless bitch for not flinging her doors wide open to admit a baby would wholly support her in denying guest privileges if instead Eileen's "child" were a big dog, or a small yappy dog, or a Scarlet Macaw...even though a baby rivals all three in the ability to make noise and get shit everywhere.  Hypocrisy, I tell you! *Sigh.*  There.  Rant done.  Happy?

Letter 4:
My coworkers are, like, old and stuff, and they, like, think my mom got me my job.  How do I totally make them realize what Epic Fails they are and ruin their lives when they're, like, not even on Facebook?

Dear Gen Why,
Listen, kiddo, Cousin Jackal's mental aging process might have stopped at 16 but I've got some grownup news for you:  You can't "make" these older farts (who are probably, what, 29? 35? *gasp* 40?) stop giving you gauche advice about getting older.  When they look at you they see someone so cute and fresh and wet behind the ears that they just want to hand you a towel to dry off.  Yeah, they're being a little awkward about it.  Just smile and go on with your work.  It's mindless office chitchat and it's not gonna hurt you.  Oh, and as for your mother getting you your job?  She did.  I know, I know, you applied for it yourself and she works in a different department, blah blah blah...but you better fucking believe that if your mom was an incompetent screwup they NEVER would have taken a chance on you.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Human Resources.

Well, that's it for this week.  I'm off to go run over a few fliers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It's back to the cute sleepy jackal picture.  Largely because I haven't slept well in weeks, and I haven't yet found a picture of a jackal contemplating a bottle of Valium.  When I sleep I dream, and when I dream, I dream of reality.  Waking up is confusing.  It begs questions.

When I don't sleep, it's because I'm awake in the darkness staring at the ceiling, listening for the telltale sound.  Cough. Hack. Cough.  He's doing it again.  He's choking.  He can't breathe.  My little boy can't breathe.  I could throw off the covers and go to him, but there's nothing I can do.  I could bundle him into the car to go to the emergency clinic, but in fifteen seconds his fit will pass, and he will breathe again.  So I wait, looking at the ceiling.  Ten...eleven...twelve.  He will stop.  It always stops.  Breathe.  Please.

This is Ace.  He's older now, six, and he's long since gotten that Styrofoam packing peanut off his nose.  A couple of weeks ago he was diagnosed with asthma.  Despite twice daily steroid pills, which he'll be on for the rest of his life, he still coughs.  Deep, wheezing, whistling coughs.  Once he coughed so hard for so long, he fainted.  Just fell over rigid, held a moment, and popped back to his feet like nothing was wrong.  Ace is funny like that; he's so darn happy, and so earnest.  To him, there's no such thing as a bad day.  Even when he's passing out from lack of oxygen.

It could be worse.  It could be FIV.  He could have gotten out, and been run over in the road.  I tell myself this, in the dark, staring at the ceiling.  Thirteen...fourteen...fifteen.  Breathe, honey.  Please.

Friday, March 5, 2010

...the H.P. Lovecraft edition

 Good morning and good morning!  Cousin Jackal has taken a brief respite from her travels by stopping off in Arkham, Massachusetts for a visit at her alma mater, Miskatonic University.  I've been whiling away a few hours in the vast library, poring over a copy of The Necronomicon and inhaling the intoxicating aroma of old leather-bound books underlain by a hint of brimstone.  But speaking of unspeakable smells, I've caught a whiff of something else, and it smells like bullshit.  That must mean it's Prudie Day!

Letter 1:
These three long years my wife has lain in her sepulchre; in her absence I have retired to the garret (where I listen to the rats scratch in the walls, and grow more eldritch and squamous by the hour) and hired a governess for my son.  The governess, aware of my prolonged celibacy and lack of social life, has made intimations that she and I should skip off into the woods and get it on like a couple of Cthulu cultists.  And hot damn, I could use some of that swamp-orgy action, but I'm hesitant.  Should I forget my life of solitude?  My sorrow?  The garret? The rats? Should I?

Dear Black Goat of the Shoulds,
Whoa, there, dude, I realize you've gone without for a pretty long time, but rein in the horny goat for a moment and think about this. How well do you know this woman? Sure she's probably a good nanny. But do you know anything else about her? For instance, do you know why she's "restless" in her current relationship? Do you know why this 24-year-old woman would choose to seek employment caring for a widower's only son? When Cousin Jackal was 24 she had a J-O-B, a real career-type job. Granted, what with layoffs people have to make ends meet, or perhaps this job gives her time to study or whatnot, but you'll forgive me for wondering whether Miss Poppins is simply "restless" that her boyfriend hasn't popped the question yet and so she's made the brilliantly Machiavellian move to worm her way into someone's (yours--and your son's) good graces, your home, and, she hopes, your bed and your life.  Additionally, were you to have a simple fling with this woman, do you know her well enough to be sure she wouldn't take her wounded feelings out on your son if things don't work out the way she wants? How about this: Go out with her first, on a non-sex date. Find out how she thinks. Proceed accordingly.

Video Letter:
My hairstylist possesses scissors wrested from the star-spawn of the Old Ones by Mad Abdul Alhazred; consequently, her cuts are awesome and I love my hair.  Unfortunately, she charges an arm and a leg (and occasionally a virgin ram and a firstborn child).  How do I tell her I'm breaking up with her? 

Dear At The Mountains of Shear Madness,
Cousin Jackal sympathizes mightily with your plight; a good hairstylist is worth his/her weight in bacon-wrapped diamonds. However, without seeing your hair, I fail to understand the problem--is it that her rates are so much higher than other stylists', or that you have less money available to spend on your coiffure? If the former, you may have to give up your access to the magic shears, because just as it isn't fair to ask an artist for a reduced price on a painting, it's not fair to ask your stylist to give you a discount; you'll have to let your feet do the talking and go somewhere else. (I could be wrong here, but I've never met a stylist who didn't consider him/herself to be an artiste deserving of every drop of virgin ram's blood--err, penny.  Occasionally it's even true.) If the latter, if you normally have to spend a lot to maintain your hair--Cousin Jackal's hair has been every color under the sun, and that shit ain't cheap--you should find a color you can stretch for a while with box root touch-ups and a style that you can manage going a couple of months between trims.

Letter 2:
I'm gravid with our family's second noisome spawn.  My mother-in-law had the audacity not only to be over forty, but also to get pregnant.  I don't know what's worse, her age or the fact that she clearly was so jealous of my gestative powers that she decided to give it a go herself.  How dare she try to stop me from being the center of the universe!

Dear DumbWitch Horror,
Dear sweet Elder Gods, please tell me this letter was a joke. You could not possibly be this immature and have reached (much less passed) pubescence. You know what, dearie, I'm going to lay this all at your mother-in-law's feet. Yep. That's right. It's her fault. She raised a sad sack of a man who apparently believed the best he could do in life was to breed with you. I pity her, her son, her spawn, and both of your spawns.

That noise?  Oh that's nothing, just the Perverse Glee Club summoning Azathoth the Blind Idiot God out on the quadrant.  That, or LW2 just had her baby.  Moving on...

Letter 3:
I have a friend who has sterling, platinum, gilded, jellied, sauteed, and pan-fried credentials.  But without even consulting me, she has taken a job in R'yleh, where *gasp!* there's a different system of government than the one I know!  And the Internet tells me that all sorts of nasty things go on there, things that never ever ever in a million years could happen here, no sirree!  I mean, if my friend only stayed away, the poor mutant underlings of that country would surely rise up and revolt against their overlords, bringing about peace and harmony and sparkle-farting unicorn circuses in a bloodless coup, but nooooo, she has to be selfish prat and go be Cthulu's tech support girl.  Am I justified in shunning her?  I mean, think of the human rights horrors perpetrated in R'yleh--they don't even have a Volvo dealership!

Dear Pickman's Model of Human Decency,
Ever shopped at WalMart? Guess what, you've supported an oppressive regime. (Cousin Jackal is referring to purveyors of sweatshop labor, not WalMart itself--although it certainly applies.) Unless your friend is being employed to shoot inconvenient protesters, steal food and medicine provided by aid groups, or torture prisoners, I'm afraid that you'll just have to shut the fuck up. Or better yet, go ahead and drop your friend; with friends like you, who needs oppressive regimes?  How's that mountain of morality you're trying to play king of, is it getting lonely yet?

Letter 4:
I was born with vestigial wings, a tail, and tentacles.  Because my parents did not want me to grow up to be a hentai art model, these extra appendages were removed.  Now I've met my mate and want to breed!  Should I tell my future spawn-mother about the genetic quirks awaiting our offspring, or should I just bring a camera to the maternity ward to capture the look on her face when she sees the horror she has birthed?  (And can I put the result up on FailBlog?)

Dear Cthulu Ftagn,
Gesundheit.  What's a few extra fingers and toes (or vestigial wings and tentacles) between lovers? Yes, in the interest of full disclosure go ahead and bring it up when the subject of either your scars or breeding arises.  And please note that nobody has perfect genetics, no matter what you may think by looking in the Victoria's Secret catalog. So you do your thing, you mutant you, and let modern technology do its thing if it comes to that. 

And now I'm off to find some lunch; I hear the dining hall is serving calamari.  Have a lovely week!  Cthulu ftagn!