Am I a Lumbersexual?

lumbersexualAm I a Lumbersexual?
By Evan Kingston

When I first heard some folks chatting about this new hip term, I was like, “Oh for sure, I’m a lumbarsexual. The lumbar region is one of the most delectably curvaceous regions of the female form. I’m a lumbar-lover, no denying it.”

But then I saw one of the hundred Internet articles that have popped up over the past few months and was disappointed that it was spelled with an “e”—and that it featured a picture of a guy that looked just like me!

But how could they know that I was a lumbersexual? Did my sextape finally leak, exposing to the world how much lumbering is involved in my bedroom maneuvers? (“Wait now… hold on… just let me get settled… Uh, oh–I’m going to tip over!”)

Once I finally worked up the nerve to click and read one of the articles, I realized it was actually about men with beards, describing their motives for growing facial hair as a sort of cultural movement to reclaim traditional masculinity (or at least the sort of masculinity that is tradition in logging camps).

Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but ever since I turned 22, I haven’t needed a motive for growing facial hair—it just happens on my face. My motive for keeping it the past few years has been mostly laziness, rationalized as needed with vain blathering about not wanting to look like I was trying to hard.

But now, finding that I look exactly the same as the guys who are trying hard, I am left wondering if I should join the movement…. Am I a lumbersexual?

I guess, in the end, the answer has to be no, because I just wasn’t born that way: I don’t get any erotic charge out of whether or not and to what extent I look like a fancy lumberjack. It’s only my wife’s lovely lumbar region that gets me going enough to tip me over. I guess I’m just a lumbarsexual for life.

photo credit: 43 via photopin (license)

“Schwantz!”

schwantz“Schwantz!”
by Evan Kingston

My grandma traveled up to Canada to visit a few times when I was young, but it was only once I was seven, when we moved to Minnesota to be closer to my mom’s family after my dad died, that I came to spend time enough with her to know who she was besides my mom’s mom. We moved in with her for the summer and, while my mom was out job- and house-hunting, Grandma watched and entertained my brother and me.

And we needed entertainment: still devastated from losing our father, we were confused and afraid, not knowing what it really meant; and as we gradually figured it out, each new revelation was a fresh source of anxiety, grief, or anger; and then on top of it all, we moved to America, which seemed like a louder, meaner version of Canada, all the worse because it was away from every memory we had of our father.

So my grandma taught us German curses while we played board games. She must have learned them from her German-speaking parents, cursing in earnest at their own card games, but we learned to do it in jest. Whenever something bad happened to her in the game, she’d cuss with glee. A favorite was “shist auf der loof,” which I’m sure, if I’m even remembering it perfectly, isn’t proper German. Regardless, we were told it meant “poo on the roof”—a phrase whose meaning is every bit as obvious and mysterious to me today as it was then. My grandma made it clear that saying it was the funest way to lose, though, so soon we were joining in and learning new ones for variety. Being boys, “schwantz”—meaning penis, or as we said then “wiener” or “goo goo”—was soon our favorite, and it quickly became family tradition to say it, not when loosing, but before every dice roll for good luck.

When I think of why I love my grandma, past the general reasons we all love our grandmas, I think of that transformation: back then I was so scared of life that I used to stay awake in bed for as long as I could, as silently as I could, listening to my heartbeat so that, if it stopped, I could tell my mom before I died.

But with grandma, I was jumping out of my chair to joyfully scream German penis at the top of my lungs.

I’m sure that is where I learned to joke my way through tough times, an instinct that has helped me ever since. So as things got harder for my grandma with age, it was heartening to see that she always held on to her humor. Even this last Thanksgiving, when getting around was becoming more and more difficult, painful, and exhausting, she had us all laughing on several occasions. Carol had always been proficient with non sequiturs, so it was sometimes hard over the past few years to tell if she was changing the subject to be funny, because she couldn’t hear what was just said, or if she’d just gotten bored of sober conversation. Regardless of why, as conversation flagged towards the end of dessert, she announced to the whole room: “I have a confession to make.”

We all stopped to listen, and she started telling a story about a night shift she’d once worked in the hospital. She’d been a nurse her whole life, but this took place back when she was still a young woman. Mr. Wilkinson, one of her patients, however, was old.

“Oh Lord, he was old,” she explained. “Old as dirt: he was older than I am now. So old he could hardly do anything. Couldn’t walk around, or push his own wheel chair, couldn’t even sit up in bed without some help. He was old, old, old—but at night,he slept as a young man…”

I think we were all a little confused by this turn of phrase, but a mischievous glimmer in her eyes gave me a clue as to what it might mean. Still, I could barely believe she was talking about what I thought she was talking about, even as she continued.

“Every night, making the rounds, I’d walk by his room to check on him, and there old Mr. Wilkinson would be: sleeping as a young man. All us nurses joked about it. It was terrible, one of those things you didn’t want to look at but couldn’t help it: there he was, every night, tenting the sheet.”

She was! She was talking about Mr. Wilkinson’s schwantz!

“And then one night, it was worse than ever before. It had tipped the sheet onto the floor and even parted his gown. And I couldn’t help it: I ran out to the break room, peeled a sticker off a Chiquita banana, and snuck back into his room to put it on him. Then I told Eileen to go check on Mr. Wilkinson. She laughed so hard she could barely make it out of the room before she doubled over onto the floor.”

In addition to raising some fine jokers, Carol raised some incredible health care professionals, so there was a bit of an outcry in the family about losing your license for playing the same prank today, but I just laughed. Or laughed and thought, as I usually do, about why we joke. This wasn’t just some crass anecdote, but a chance to talk about what we were all afraid to talk about, a way to simultaneously look at and let go of that which had been haunting the whole evening: the pains and humiliations of aging.

Whether you’re missing your dad or worried about your health, while laughing, all your sufferings and anxieties are briefly obliterated. Joking is a way for us to look at what we don’t want to see but know we can’t ignore; it is a way to put a bright sticker on the wrinkled schwantz we have to stare down every night. Joking keeps us whole. So thank you, Grandma, for teaching me how.

Through nearly a century of loss, pain, disappointment, and conflict, Carol Mae managed to not just keep a smile on her face, but put one on the faces of nearly everyone she met. So, if you’ll excuse the turn of phrase, I’ll end by saying that though she is now at rest, I know she rests as a young woman: full of love, hope, compassion, and mischief.

 

photo credit: Giant Spectacular: Wake up Grandma via photopin (license)

Looking For a Healthy Bread With Which to Symbolize the Debasement That Will Inevitably Result From Your Spiritual Divorce From the God of Israel?

ezekiel bread

LOOKING FOR A HEALTHY BREAD WITH WHICH TO SYMBOLIZE THE DEBASEMENT THAT WILL INEVITABLY RESULT FROM YOUR SPIRITUAL DIVORCE FROM THE GOD OF ISRAEL?

by Evan Kingston

 

Looking for a healthy bread with which to symbolize the debasement that will inevitably result from your spiritual divorce from the God of Israel? Have I got the loaf for you!

Hi, I’m Ezekiel ben-Buzi. You might remember me from such books of the Hebrew Bible as The Book of Ezekiel and 4 Maccabees.

If you aren’t familiar with the Holy Hebrew Scriptures, you probably at least know my work from that classic Pulp Fiction scene, where Sam Jackson is about to murder that squirmy guy in the apartment, but he draws it out, saying, “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.” That’s me, prophesizing the word of God in the 17th verse of the 25 chapter of my book, “And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!”

And if you are that type of person who isn’t familiar with the words of Our Lord’s holy prophets —And in this fast-paced, express-lane age we find ourselves in, who has the time to read a chapter, much less a whole book?—then I want to tell you about a convenient new product from the Food For Life Corporation, available right now, pre-sliced, in your grocer’s freezer.

When God first struck me dumb with visions and commissioned me to upbraid my people for their lack of fidelity to His covenant with their ancestor Abraham, He gave me detailed instructions for ritual acts and meals that would symbolize the coming destruction in their lives. Despite me following God’s recipes to the letter, my fellow Israelites were every bit as rebellious and stiffhearted as He warned they would be; they continued to worship the idols of foreign nations until Jerusalem was sacked and the first temple was raised. Many men, women, and children were murdered in the streets, and even more starved to death during the deportation to Babylon that followed—but their loss is your gain, because now I’m passing this great recipe on to you!

Ezekiel 4:9 Bread is made in strict accordance with the Holy Scripture in which God commanded me to, “Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils and millet, and spelt and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it…”, hoping it would demonstrate the meager mix of unmilled grains that we would be forced to subsist on while being enslaved by Nebuchadnezzar and robbed of our culture. In God’s initial instructions, I was to eat the coarse loaves while lying on my left side for 390 days, symbolically taking on all the sins of Israel—but I hear it is also quite good enjoyed in front of the Dr. Oz show with coconut oil and manuka honey.

Can you think of a more nutritious way to grow accustomed to the wages of your sin? A more convenient product with which to symbolize the moral ignorance inherent in your superficial, consumerist lifestyle? I sure can’t!

Now, by this point, those of few of you who are familiar with scripture are probably saying, “Hey Ezekiel—thanks for making this bread! My certainty in God’s coming vengeance has felt like an awful weight in my gut for years, and now there’s finally a product that I can recommend to friends and family so they can share in my distress. But what about Ezekiel 4:12, where God instructs you, in order to really emulate the deprivations to come, to ‘bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel’?”

Well, I’m embarrassed to say that we are currently unable to live up to this part of the recipe and, instead, cook all the loaves in electric ovens; we hope, one day, to produce a completely excrement-baked bread but we have, as of yet, been unable to secure a viable source of human dung produced in compliance with our organic, fair-trade standards.

So, if you’ve been cavorting with the gods of diverse nations as freely as a paint-faced whore taking men in off the street, give Ezekiel 4:9 Bread a try. I prophesize you’ll love it until the very end!
photo credit: Ezekiel toast slathered with butter and honey. via photopin (license)

Reading Group Discussion Questions from the 25th Anniversary Edition of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

the road

Reading Group Discussion Questions from the 25th Anniversary Edition of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

by Evan Kingston

-Why do you think people wanted to read this book before the end of the world, when they could have just focused on enjoying the few days they had left with processed foods and working plumbing?

– How well do you think the book prepares someone for post-apocalyptic living? Do you think Cormac left out useful, informative sections full of straight forward information about trap building, tracking, and other survival skills in order to insure his knowledge was still scarce enough to trade for when the end came?

-Why do you think we few left-living literates still want to read what one reviewer called “a bleak warning” even after our last chance to do anything about it has long since passed? Wouldn’t it make more sense for us to seek out and preserve vivid descriptions of attractive, healthy people bathing in working showers, or scenes evoking the pleasures of microwaving a hot-pocket? Do you have access to any such writings?

-If you had to burn the pages of one scene to boil water to clean an infected wound, which scene would you choose? And why?

-Though there are probably less humans alive now than there were visiting most larger Chapters Books locations on the weekend that this novel was first published in 2006, it is still immensely popular, especially when compared to the greatly diminished readership for pre-apocalyptic novels about pre-apocalyptic living. Do you think that the novel’s stark pleasures and brutal insights gave its fans an edge that caused disproportionately high survival rates, or are many just pretending they liked McCarthy before he was cool? (I liked him even before Oprah, and I remember a lot of people calling him (and me) a fusty old crank—but I guess they all died, huh? And if he’s always been your favorite author and you treasured The Road even before it proved true, why do you have to borrow one of my copies?)

-What do you think the term “carry the fire” means to the characters in the novel? Is preserving and disseminating this book enough to count as keeping the flame alive? Or do you have to do stuff like kill bad guys, help kids, and carry on philosophical internal-dialogues, too?

-Cormac describes his apocalyptic landscape as “largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes” [p. 181], but we all know that eating children will make you sick due to pollution in their mothers’ drinking water during pregnancy. In what other ways has he over- and/or under-estimated how bad things actually are?

-What do you make of Cormac McCarthy’s use of minimalism? Especially in light of the fact that this is one of the few books to survive the apocalypse. What does it mean for the future vocabulary of the human race? Did you ever think people would say “macadam” so often again?

-Oprah’s discussion question in the back of my original copy referenced McCarthy’s spare punctuation as well, including his lack of semicolons. Can anyone remember exactly what a semicolon was or how it was used? Is it possible that the apocalypse was caused by semicolon abuse or mismanagement?

-Don’t you wish this was printed on something with nutritional value? Or does it add to the novel’s atmosphere that I’ve hand-copied it into the blank pages of a dead stranger’s diary?

-Regardless, it was a pretty good read, eh? Took your mind off your own troubles for a bit while also making you realize we all share in the same struggle. How much would you say that feeling of transcendent empathy is worth to you? Two cans of food? A survival skills manual with hand-copied diagrams? One dented can?

photo credit: pursuethepassion via photopin cc