Tag Archives: Andy Willliams


27 Dec

One of my favorite members of The Justice League is The Flash. I like his attitude, his sense of humor, and his ridiculously inflated ego hiding what is probably a mountain of insecurity. I identify.

I have sentimental feelings for The Flash, too. It wasn’t until I had children that I discovered The Justice League. Our son began watching the show as a young boy and pulled my husband and I along for the ride. Before long, the three of us were avid Batman fans and had decided Superman was a wuss. (He visits Lex Luthor in the hospital, for crying out loud!) When we discovered our daughter loved The Justice League, too, we were overjoyed. About four years ago, we spent an entire week at the beach, playing in the sand by day and watching Justice League episodes by night. At four, our daughter didn’t get the names all quite right. Wonder Woman was “Woman Lady” and The Flash was “Fast.”

I was reminded of my fond feelings for The Flash recently by my cousin. We were having hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on Christmas Eve. This particular cousin happens to be about my age. Actually, I have a whole passel of cousins who are just about my age, give or take two years, but I share a special experience with this one.

My cousin reminded me that perverts just really seem to like me. Naturally, she didn’t come out and say, “Wow, Janice, perverts really like you.” She was reminiscing about one particular summer in her hometown in New Jersey. My family was visiting her family. Between the two families there were four girls: me and my sister, my cousin and her sister.

We were young teenagers that summer, my sister the oldest and my cousin the youngest. The four of us went for a walk in the woods behind my cousins’ house. As we were walking, we heard a voice saying, “Girls! Oh, girls!” We looked around, not sure where the voice was coming from. “Girls! Over here, girls!” We finally located the source of the voice. It was a young man, naked, inviting us to check out his natural endowments in the wooded natural setting. I recall being astounded, then laughing and running away. My cousin recalls the same. My sister claims not to remember any of it.

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of my experience with perverts. In college, I joined a sorority. One early summer evening, I was standing near my bedroom window, applying my makeup in preparation for the weekly trip to “The Bars.” I saw a flashing light out of the corner of my eye. I looked into the parking lot below, saw nothing of consequence, and turned back to my making up. Again, the light flashed into my window. Again, I looked down into the parking lot. This time, I saw something of consequence. I saw a hand wrapped around a “unit,” hand busily at work. I did not see a face, as the hand and unit were “spotlighted” by a flashlight. I screamed, then called the police.

The Urbana police responded to the call. Oh, how they responded to the call. Summer evenings at the sorority were spent sitting on the front porch. A number of my sisters were sitting on our porch, as were sisters at the house next door and the house next door to that. Two police cruisers pulled up to the house. I was already on the porch, waiting for them to come up to the house and take my statement. Did they come up to the house? NO! They stood on the curb conversing with each other loudly, like this:

Cop from second car, getting out of his cruiser, assessing the situation: “So, we got someone pullin’ his pud?”

Cop from first car, acknowledging pud pulling: “Yeah, this young lady (indicates me) reports he’s out back shaking his snake.”

They did not find the pud-pulling, snake shaker. I don’t think they even tried. Probably, he was one of their own, sent out on slow nights to stir up some entertainment on sorority row.

I was much older the next time I was flashed. Some few years ago, my neighbor and I developed a walking habit. We went together to motivate each other and we went at night because that was the only time we could go together. We walked in good weather and in bad and we walked every night. We walked in our neighborhood, past houses full of families just like ours.

One night, we heard someone calling to us. We looked to where the sound was coming from and saw nothing. Then we heard the sound again, from the same spot and this time saw a naked man. We were surprised because one doesn’t expect to find a naked man on a walk at night. Mostly, though, we were surprised because it was freezing out. The man ran as soon as he realized we had seen him and we said, “Hey, come back! Don’t run away!” Poor guy. Probably looking to shock and intimidate and the best we could give him was sarcasm.

I’ve read that there aren’t as many females compelled to expose themselves as men because there are so many legal outlets for women inclined toward exhibitionism. Stripping, for instance. And, isn’t it just like a woman to find a practical outlet for her compulsion? Take off your clothes in public and get paid for it without getting arrested. That’s a neat trick.

Actually, my neighbor takes off his clothes in public and never gets arrested for it though what he does should be a crime. Every summer, as soon as the temperature goes over 80, this guy is outside shirtless. I’m no prude. Alexander Skarsgaard without a shirt? I’m all over that. But, we’re talking the Pillsbury Dough boy’s older, flabbier brother here.

I should probably pretend I’m appalled, rather than just repulsed, and see if I can get the neighbor to keep his shirt on when he’s outside. After all, my daughter is only eight years old. She should be given as many years as possible before she has to put up with men flashing their bits of pasty white flesh her way. Right now, the only flashing she needs to see is in Justice League reruns.

Christmas Melts Down

13 Dec

Andy Williams is a liar. According to his famous Christmas tune, this is “the most wonderful time of the year, with kids jingle belling and everyone telling you ‘be of good cheer’.”

Be of good cheer, my sweet behind, Andy. Tell it to my dog. The poor thing just had to “do his business” with a 50 mile-per-hour North wind blowing straight up his nostrils. In Naperville, the wind is whipping down the former plains. So, no, Mr. Williams, I wouldn’t call this time of year wonderful.

My idea of a wonderful time of year is late May. The irises and roses are blooming in my garden. Last year, for the first time, a climbing rose I’ve allowed to grow despite never producing a bloom, bloomed in a profusion of cherry red. It was gloriously beautiful against the deep purple of the iris my dad gave me when we moved here.

I brought the rose with me from a prior garden. Actually, I brought a lot of roses from the old house to this garden. They grow like weeds for me. Within a week of planting at the new house, every one of my roses was gone, sheared to the ground by the local gang, Hell’s Bunnies.

Naperville rabbits are a rapacious lot. Whatever went into the ground went into them, thorns and all. I imagined them hopping around the neighborhood, my roses hanging from their bloody bunny mouths. I planted again, they ate again. I planted, they ate. Plant, eat. Plant, eat. Finally, I gave up on roses. I researched. I found plants that both grow like weeds and are poisonous to rabbits.

I was content with my garden full of noxious flora. Then, one day two years after moving here, I noticed a rose growing at the back of one of the beds. I left it, knowing the hellions would be through to mow it down shortly. They didn’t come. The Circle of Life seemed to have finally found its way to my yard. Now, where there once were fat, juicy bunnies by the hundreds, there is the occasional rabbit and the more than occasional hawk.

The rose grew undisturbed as I showered it with neglect. I left it alone. It did nothing. I thought I had acquired another teenager. But then this year, it bloomed. Lots and lots of fluffy, fragrant blooms, each as red as the bunny blood I imagine spilled by the neighborhood predators.

The rose has long since gone dormant. The apple trees are right now being whipped around by a blizzard force wind. The ornamental grasses are bent in half by it. I fear for my beautiful Japanese maple.

The weather sucks. I’m freezing. I’ve got the house to decorate, presents to buy, presents to make, meals to plan, cookies to cut out and cakes to bake. Because I’m not earning any money, all of this has to be done with masking tape, yarn and bag of flour.

I could handle all of the Christmas pressure with my usual aplomb, if I had a usual aplomb. Instead, I handle it with my annual Christmas Meltdown.

The Christmas Meltdown usually occurs on the day the house gets decorated. Every year, beginning in about September, one of the children will want to know when we will be decorating the Christmas tree. My daughter will ask me if we can finally have Christmas lights on our house like everyone else. I point out to her that we have luminaria in our driveway at Hanukkah, but apparently real flames are not garish enough.

Finally, the day will come when we have ushered Hanukkah out the door and Christmas decorating can begin. This year, I prepared my family for Christmas Decorating Day. I gave them a schedule of the day’s events. My family would be coming for lunch to see our tree. We need to get the tree set up before they come, I said.  We need to get the lights on. We need to put the ornaments on.

No one remembered. I decided, in my usual mature way, that I would do everything myself. Christmas is an ideal time to become a martyr, I reasoned. Reason went out the window when I couldn’t get the Christmas tree box from the basement by myself. I would have to ask one of them for help. I went with the son, as the husband was nowhere to be found.

With the tree box in the living room, I began the Christmas Mood preparations. I was, after all, creating a lifetime of memories for my children. I set my laptop to Pandora’s “Swinging Christmas” station and started putting the tree together. My son came through the room, rolled his eyes and said, “You’re NOT listening to Jazz Christmas songs.” He didn’t wait for a reply. My husband wouldn’t know what I was listening to. He was sitting less than 10 feet away, working at his own laptop, wearing his $400 noise-cancelling headphones.

I was undaunted, though. I had my eyes on that lifetime of Christmas memories prize. Then my daughter danced through the room, pronounced the undecorated tree “ugly” and pirouetted away. “She’s right,” I thought. “It’s ugly. Christmas is ugly. I’m ugly.”

I did what any Christmas-crazed overwhelmed woman would do. I got in my car and drove to my happy place. There was no line, so once I had my tall, skim, no-whip hot chocolate, I drove to my other happy place. I sat in the car, in the rain, staring out at the prairie wetlands. I cried. I cried and drank my hot chocolate until I felt like an idiot. Then, I drove back home. Meltdown accomplished; Christmas pressure released.

No, this is not my most wonderful time of the year. My son, though, is down with Andy. He loves winter.

“It’s blowing fifty miles an hour out there,” I said to him recently.

“Yeah!” he said. “This is great weather.”

“Prove it,” I said. “Go outside and then tell me this is great weather.” He grabs at any chance to show Mom how wrong she is so he ran out onto the deck. Realizing his shirt was on inside out, he took it off, did his best impersonation of Captain America and put the shirt back on. He came back in the house, still warm. By this time, I was laughing out loud.

The weather outside is frightful, but as long as I can laugh out loud now and then, it may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be just fine.

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