Monday, January 24, 2011

Suggestions for Improving Gossip

Unfortunately, the gossip has fallen on evil times of late, and both the neighborhood voyeurs and the tabloids have fallen on only a few, limited themes.  After all, topics such as these become stale in a short of time, and are too overworked:
1) Did you hear that she left her husband in Ibiza?
2) The younger Durand fille, do you know that she came in after midnight?
3) Does the priest drink too much?  And unpleasant liquor, at that!
4) Is she not wearing a soutien-gorge?
5) There was a lot of shouting at the Bernard home; did the police intervene again?
6) Her bread is no longer any good.  Her mind must be elsewhere.
7) He spends a lot of time calling at her store, does he not?
I hope you get the picture.  For those who get the television programs that feature these sordid people who describe their misconduct before an audience of questionable moral status (themselves included), somewhat more variety is permitted.  And the slick magazines provide a satisfactory level of scandal for those well-supplied with the dinero to satisfy their fantasies.  (My compliments, too, to the actors, actresses, and politicians who work long hours overtime in their selfless pursuit of naughtiness to satisfy the needs of the curious.)  But what about the rest of them?  They need their subjects for gossip, too.
I respectfully suggest that local eccentrics and cranks rise to the occasion and fill the Gossip Gap.  It would be in the National service, of course.  Kind of a Sacrée Union of Weird.  Let's explore some possibilities:
1)  Paint your dustbins pink.  Everyone will be asking "why"?  
2)  The mukluks and the bikini will do.  Where does one get mukluks in France, anyway?
3)  Have an "I brake for politicians" bumper sticker.  This will mark one as an oddity and a perennial topic for the gossips.
4)  Write letters to papers.  They should be on some far-out philosophical subject and espouse essentially harmless but unrealistic views.
5)  Call a press conference, and announce that you would accept should you be offered the Popeship.  (Works especially if you are female.)
6)  Take up an unusual sport.  In my case, it was easy.  Softball. 
7)  Dribbling a basketball while walking to church on Sunday will give them something to talk about.
8)  When at the end of the cat walk, smile wickedly.  They will wonder what you're about.  (I occasionally model.)
9)  Pink flamingoes in the front lawn will catch notice, especially in Picardie.
10)  Wear a sweatshirt with a slogan in an alien language.  It drives some people to distraction as to what it means, but few ask.  I was wearing one of mine, and unfortunately someone did ask:  The slogan was 'Ubi semper sub ubi.'
11)  Talk to your dog in public.  Also do his responses.
12)  Eat strange foods.
13)  My personal trick is to make a habit of rolling marbles down the staircase on the side of a mountain, and to mark distances that the marbles stayed on the stairs by using little flags.
14)  Take up belly dancing.
15)  Adopt multiple felines as companions.
16)  Announce that you will vacation in some unattractive spot.  Everyone will assume that that was for a tryst.  (Actually go to a nice place.)
17)  Have a pet goose.  And name him Otto or Oscar.  (Me, I will forego that pleasure.)
18)  Have your mother announce to all that you are a vexation to her, but let her be vague as to why.  You are, of course, to act scrupulously normal.  They will spend hours in speculation as to why.
19)  Adopt the Goth look.  (I'll pass.)
20)  Tell someone casually that you are feeling bad after the latest body piercing.  If there is none evident, it will perk their curiosity.  (That sort of thing is not to my taste.)
21)  Arrange to be picked up in a limosine.  
22)  Have a male visitor who is obviously a speaker of a different language.
23)  Wear white shoes in November.
24)  Send the priest a Guy Fawkes Day card.  
25)  Fly an unusual flag.  (mine is for a sports team.)
No doubt, you can think of better ones.  But the point is, we all have to do our duty.  Our societies deserve no less than a full effort from you. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Statue Fondling

Here in Europe there is an unreported practice of statue fondling.  It can be most unsavory and unsettling at time.  For example, what is one to make of that when one visits a grave and sees someone fondling a statue of a nymph?  Does one avert one's eyes so as to not intrude upon an intimate moment, or does one scold this impudence?  After all, it's hard to understand that the nymph might have consented!  It's very hard to scold when the person in question is twice my age! 
Now in Firenze (Florence) there is a statue of a pig: Il Porcellino.  People on holiday are wont to pet its nose; supposedly because it makes the petter be able to return to this beautiful Renaissance city again.  I always make it a point to pet the pig.  Florence is so romantic, and it has  wonderful museums and churches.
But in Verona we find the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette.  The local community has the supposed balcony of Juliette; and there is a fine statue of Juliette in a garden.  Generations of men caress this statue in on her right breast so that the feature in question is highly polished.  They caress it for love: to get a lover.  Or maybe they carry on in a naughty fashion like so many people do on holiday when they are not around their parents, teachers, or priests! 

Their doing this is a reliable way to embarass the English and inhibited French girls like me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Does His Holiness Wear?

It was one of those mornings: rainy and dreary, and the people in the café were mentally trying to find excuses for not getting back to work, longing for someone to raise some pointed issue to provide an excuse for a discussion.
Just then, the young assistant priest came in, and the lady who runs the gift shop mused, "I wonder if His Holiness the Pontiff wears the boxer shorts or the briefs."  Slowly, people offered their views.  Someone said, "Surely he wears the briefs; his garçons require a home at his age."  The barber thought so too, as did a governmental functionary (who seldom works, anyway).  I opinioned that he preferred the boxers: he requires room and they come in different colors and can have pretty printed designs on them.  Surely he wore some with little gold crosses and "Souvenir of Germany" on them?  Our young priest begged off an opinion, saying that he was not privy to the launderings in the Vatican. 
The local communist offered his usual radical view: could M. the Pope wear a thong?  My view on this was that this would only be done in Lent, when some form of penance would be required.  (Speaking from experience.)  At any rate, we informed him that it would not be a red one, except perhaps on Penecostal Sunday.
A cough.  The motely irreverend crew turned around.  It was the old pastor.  We were caught!  And due a tongue-lashing of the fullest amount.  All of us guilty people, even our communist, shuddered. 
The pastor observed, "Surely His Holiness goes commando."  Tension immediately vanished.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An Amusing Stereotype Denied

For the record, I do shave both my legs and armpits.

And . . . .

hee hee hee