Friday, October 13, 2006

Think Pink!

I'm trying to find a delicate way to talk about this and words are failing me.

Oh, what the hell.

This is a blog post about tits. Gentlemen, I love you dearly and you gladden my black little heart and all, but hey, you're excused for the remainder of this post.


Go see if ESPN Classic has a good movie on. (And for goodness' sake, don't watch "Ole Yeller"!)

Now, where was I? Tits. Okay, we all have two of them. Well, most of us have two of them. And a lot of the time, especially if we're not particularly touchy feelie with ourselves or someone else, it's easy for stuff to go undetected.

That's why I wanted to talk to you about mammograms and the BSE or Breast Self Exam. If you are 40 or over, you need to be getting a mammogram once every one to two years. The BSE is something we need to be doing at least once a month. You can download and print an instruction card from the Susan G. Komen website here. It's easy! You can even do it in the privacy of your own shower. Hey, how often is it that the key to your peace of mind about anything is right there in your hand?

Okay, while we're on the subject of getting to second base with ourselves...well, yeah, your husband or boyfriend or girlfriend could help you, but they need to read the card you're going to print out so they know what they're doing. Speaking of boyfriends and husbands, it's much a rarer thing, but they can get breast cancer, too.

The scary thing about male breast cancer is that with the exception of Fabio's, most moobs (man-boobs, Mom) are going to be much smaller than our boobs; so cancer can spread to the chest wall more quickly. Early detection is pretty important for them, too. Note any changes in the chest area including lumps, skin dimpling, puckering or nipple changes. (Why do men even have nipples?)

Want to learn more? Visit The Komen Foundation's website at . You'll find all kinds of useful information about breast cancer dectection and treatment. There is also a wealth of information about ways to support agencies that are working to eradicate Breast Cancer.

And by the way...October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You might have noticed that some of your favorite retailers and products are sporting pink ribbon logos or pink packaging right now. Those aren't Easter leftovers. They're special products indicating that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of that item will go toward funding for breast cancer research and awareness education. So if you're deciding which item to buy, the choice is easy. For the month of October, do the right thing and Think Pink!



copyright 2006 Jas Faulkner

Monday, October 02, 2006

Curbed Service

Please bear with me because I'm going to get on my soapbox for a paragraph. Summer is nearly over and many regions in the US are experiencing slightly cooler weather. It's very tempting to load your best four-legged friends into the car when you head out for errands. What a lot of people don't realize is that it's still pretty warm and your pup could get mighty uncomfortable waiting for you as the sun hits those windows and windshields and heats up the inside of your car. So please think twice and leave your bud at home and maybe bring them a nice organic biscuit or something.

Now, having said that, I've been subjected to two instances of well-intentioned people who just wanted to be sure that I wasn't leaving some creature in my car to roast. Fortunately, it wasn't the case either time, but they were not to be deterred. I salute them and offer their acts of heroism up for your amusement.

The first happened many years ago. My nephew, SproutBoy, was just a tot and had a stuffed platypus that he adored because it was colored just like the shih tzu who owned me at the time. PlattyBooger's permanent place soon became the place next to Sproutie's car seat. I would often forget it was back there until someone asked me about the gray and white fuzz ball in the back seat.

So it's late spring and it's kind of warm. I'm in a hurry to get two boxes of juice pops for the kids we would be subjecting to adventure-based therapy, so I was trying to get out of the car and sprint into the store when the woman loading her groceries in the car next to mine stopped me before I could get too far.

"Don't you think you should at least crack your windows open a little?" she asked.

"Oh, I'm only going to be in there for a minute." I gave a goofy sweeping gesture with my hands that I hoped she would take to mean that I wanted her to let me by.

She took a deep breath and then her lips disappeared.

"It's hot in that car." she barked at me.

"I really appreciate your concern but my windshield isn't going to crack. We're just barely into th 80s tempwise."

She strode to my car and tapped on the back driver's side window.

"What about this?" she snapped.

"What?" I leaned over to see what was upsetting her and it dawned on me that she thought Plattybooger was a live animal.

"Oh! It won't feel a thing!" I chuckled and started to walk away.

She drew a quivering breath and shouted at me "HOW can you be so heartless?"

"Ma'am," I said, "Look. It's not alive" I leaned over and tapped the glass. Platty didn't move.

"It's DEAD!" She began to cry.

A bag boy walked up to see if everything was okay.

"It's dead!" She said again, glaring at me accusingly.

"It's polyester!" I said. I opened the door and took Plattybooger and held it up for her to see, wiggling his pink felt beak and feet at her.

The bag boy blinked at me. "You mean to tell me you're leaving a stuffed platypus in your car with no water and the windows rolled up in 80 degree weather?"

The woman shook her head. "I keep trying to tell her..."

I'd had enough. "I'm going in. The two of you can sort this out any way you want to."

It wouldn't have surprised me in the least if I'd come back to find the woman had opened a carton of milk and a bag of Oreos and was having morning snacks with the bagboy and Plattybooger. She was gone. No one had smashed in a window, but I must have forgotten to lock the back door because Platty was sitting upright with a bottle of water between his front flippers. That'll teach me.

Okay, so what are the odds of coming across similarly inclined but well-intentioned loonies? It was almost ten years later. I had retrieved my dog, a large Old English Sheepdog mix, from his spa day at the groomer's and stopped at a Mexican place to pick up the dinner order I'd called in.

Because I knew it would only take me a few steps and as many minutes to get dinner, I turned up the AC, cracked one back wondow about six inches so he could poke out his snoot and sniff around, clipped off the door key and locked the doors. I was in there maybe three to five minutes when the couple who had been ahead of me in line came back to inform me my dog was shut in a car in the heat. I assured them that it was much cooler in the car than it was in the restaurant and stayed where I was. They left in a huff and then returned madder a couple of minutes later while the counter guy was ringing me up.

"He growled at us! We were trying to help him and he growled at us." The girl looked very angry and a bit shaken.

It wasn't like him to growl at anybody. Then the boy spoke and cleared everything up.

"And he took our tacos."

What? I went outside to find O'Neill still in air conditioned comfort, happily tearing into a bag of tacos.

"Every time we reach in, he growls at us." The girl complained.

"He thinks you're going to take his tacos." I said.

"They're OUR tacos!" The boy corrected me.

"He did leave you a couple." I said. There were a two tacos still in their wrappers on the ground next to a piece of the bag O'Neill hadn't managed to pull into the car when they were probably trying to "liberate" him.

They snatched up their tacos and went back into the restaurant. I saw them point at O'Neill and me as they talked and then I saw the counter guy laugh. Who knows? Maybe they entertained him sufficiently that he comped them some more tacos.

My point, and I do have one, is that it's always a good idea to speak up if you think an animal is in danger. However, use some common sense. The dinner (and dignity) you save may be your own.

copyright 2006 Jas Faulkner

Finding Jesus, Seeing Buddha in the Road and Getting Lost With Chet

I was sitting in the backyard with Legba. It was late and we were enjoying what was probably one of the last remaining nights of the year when everything was still lush and yet the weather wasn't unbearably hot.

A small, squat woman leaned over my gate and waved.

"Yoohoo! Hellooo!"

I waved and then turned back to Legba. He was about to tell me the truth about Robert Johnson and I didn't want to ruin the moment.

"Uh, hi! Hello? Can we talk for a minute?"

Legba rolled his eyes, sipped the lemonade I'd made for him and stared off into the distance. I sighed and got up from table.

As I approached the gate, the woman fidgeted and wiggled like a happy, fat scottie.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

"No." she said, using the same tone of voice my dentist's assistant uses just before she's about to do something she knows will hurt like a bitch. "I'm here to help YOU. Let me ask you this. Have you found Jesus?"

Legba dropped his cool act and looked genuinely startled.

"Crap." He said "You mean the Ramirez kid is missing? He's only three. Maybe we should call the police."

The lady cleared her throat loudly.

"My dear sir," she intoned, "I assure you that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not a small Mexican child."

Legba drained his glass and shook his head.

"Sweet Jas," he said as he got up and appraoched the gate, "Given the sudden change in the barometric pressure, the next one is gonna have to be a bit harder."

I took his glass with every intention of filling it with lemonade and a shot of Lynchburg's finest, but I also didn't want to miss a word of the exchange that was sure to follow.

"Now why is it, my dear lady, that you don't think Jesus could be a small Mexican boy? What does Jesus look like? I need something to go on if I'm going to go looking for him."

Legba cocked his head to the side and waited for the squatty woman to respond. She patted her lips with two fingers and cleared her throat.

"Well, I ah, didn't actually mean for you to go looking for Jesus."

"Why not? You asked us if we'd found him. Is he lost or not? And if he is lost, how does a grown man get that way in this day and age unless he's Chet Baker?"

"I think you might have misunderstood..."

"You're about to tell me some little white man named Jesus is lost? In Tennessee? Jas, are you listening to this?"

I smiled reassuringly at the lady. She smiled back at me, hopeful that she had an ally.

"Ma'am?" I said.

"Yes?" She was almost breathless.

"Have you checked in Rhea County?"

"Rhea County?"

"Yeah. It's in East Tennessee, at the foot of the Cumberlands. Pretty country. They had the Scopes Trial there. Now there are a hand full of churches and a Bible college and the home base of some organization that wants people to remember Tennessee's Biblical heritage, which is really kind of funny, because I've read the Bible cover to cover and I've never seen Tennessee mentioned anywhere."

Legba glared at me.

"Girl stop the stupid before you have to see a grown man cry."

"I'm just saying it makes more sense for Jesus to want to be around his people. You see what I'm saying?"

Legba muttered something I didn't quite catch and the lady reached over the fence to touch my arm.

"Are you a Christian?"

Marc Cohen might have sang "Ma'am, I am tonight." but all I could manage was a cheery "No ma'am. I'm Buddhist. I follow the teachings of Buddha. Have you seen him lately?"

"Buddha?" She looked very confused.

"I'll bite," said Legba, "What does Buddha look like?"

There are quite a few fat, cheerful bald guys wandering around. It would be a pity to have their moods ruined by this lady. So I lied.

"What does Buddha look like? Well. He looks like Keanu Reeves."

Legba spluttered and walked back to his lawn chair. The lady looked very distressed and backed away.

"I need to go," she choked out,"But thanks for the chat."

I went in and got Legba a fresh lemonade that would hopefully carry enough kick to loosen up his tongue.

"Keanu Reeves." He snorted. "That little cocksmoker doesn't look a thing like Keanu Reeves. Danny DeVito maybe. Is this strong?" He took a sip. "Oh yes it is. Now where was I?"

"Robert Johnson."

"Yeah, yeah. I met Robert Johnson one night when that little fool was trying to hitchhike to Memphis..."

copyright 2006 Jas Faulkner