Monday, December 15, 2008

Hubris and Humus

The following is an excerpt from the book "Life is a Cabaret of Chum- a Memoir" by Le Cornichon:
So, there we were, just walking along Rue Royal chatting away, when we looked up to see Kitty coming from the opposite direction on the sparsely peopled sidewalk. The fact that I had actually had a brief moment of eye contact was now followed by a slight sinking feeling in my gut. Panic ensued and I reacted by grabbing my companion by the arm and pointing toward something- anything- in the store window hoping against hope that Kitty would pass us by without engaging in what was sure to be rather awkward social intercourse. After what seemed like hours, I turned away from the window and was startled to find Kitty standing right behind me with that strange blank look on her face that is so hard to read, her perfect bow perched jauntily yet somehow mockingly over her left eye. Gaining my composure but wrenching internally ever so slightly, I flashed my best Lana Turner smile and said coolly "Oh.... Hello Kitty....."
Now back to me ranting.
Let's talk about birthdays.
I will start by saying that in my opinion, once one has started wearing long pants and paying utility bills, the idea of exuberantly celebrating ones own arrival into the world, via the birth canal, c-section or egg, has always seemed not only a tad hubristic, but a little creepy, like Furry Fandom or Victorian post mortem photography. Don't get me wrong, I am simply devoted to any celebration that involves cake, and I will certainly not stand in the way of anyone that would like to mark the occasion, but I am merely suggesting that, as adults, unless your face is on the currency of your particular country of origin, our overt self indulgence should be a little more measured, even a bit closeted and a little less "Hey everyone! It's my special day!" or "Next week is my birthday, I am registered at Saks!" if you get my meaning.

Now that I have gotten that off my bejeweled heaving chest, I feel much better- maybe it's just the lycanthropy acting up again..
For some of us, dame Fortuna has somehow decided that we should have birthdays on important holidays or on certain days that mark milestones in history. Being born on the fourth of July is decidedly the least irksome, or Saint Valentines day, Halloween is totally cool, Arbor Day - meh, a birthday on January first can just about guarantee that your peers who are at or above the legal drinking age will surely not be attending your dinky little party, a geburtstag on 9/11 is probably the worst, and a birthday that falls on the same day that Marie Antoinette was guillotined matters only in certain circles.
Somewhere on the "sliding scale of unfortunate" is being born in the month of December.
I will tell you, if you promise to keep it just between us, I am one of those people.

Although I was a bit crestfallen to discover that all the decorations "decking the halls" weren't especially for me, it quite worked in my favor as a child, aside from having to routinely remind the Nuns that it was my birthday too, I actually made out like a bandit.
Right before my eighth birthday, (the year that I decided to pretend that I was a deposed Chinese Princess, having my hair dyed jet black and my "Beatles" mop trimmed into a smart bob) I saw an old movie -from the 1930's- that featured a very glamorous woman traveling on a train who had matching alligator luggage- bingo- I told my parents that that was all I ever ever ever wanted for my birthday. But alas, instead of a steamer trunk and matching valise I got a real alligator. She was quite lovely actually, I christened her Millicent Friendly, during the one and only time she and I ever shared a bubble bath, (the incident almost ended in my changing sexes) and my dad made a very smart terrarium- decorated with a fetching Flintstones motif -out of a fifty gallon fish tank that at one time had graced the guest bed room- before our Siamese cat decided to go all Virginia Woolf and commit suicide among the Red Tail Zebra Botia and the Flower Horn Cichlid.
Millicent was quite attractive, even sexy for her species, and an OK pet I suppose, she was always an exciting part of "show and tell" day at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrel, the pro-vegetarian Catholic school I attended at the time. It was almost impossible to get her to play fetch or play dress up, but she excelled in a favorite game that involved the throwing back and forth of the raw chicken that was meant as her mid day snack- she could play for hours!

As Millicent grew by leaps and bounds, it was increasingly difficult to house her, the fifty gallon aquarium had long been discarded and we were now up to a large custom made glass tank about the size of a freezer. (it was agreed that letting Millicent live in the swimming pool in the back yard was seriously curtailing my Mothers ability to have pool parties)
Sadly, patience for her antics ran thin and the last straw was when Millicent had cornered Aida, my nanny, on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen for an entire afternoon.
Mom and Dad arranged to have Millicent relocated to the Everglades- at least that was the official story- where she could live out her life frolicking through the humus and playing "toss the chicken parts" with professional alligator keepers.

I have often thought about what may have actually happened to Millicent, I believe she would not really have minded being made into a piece of luggage or a smart handbag. If you ever buy a bag that throws back whatever you put in it - that's Millicent- tell her I said hi.

A toast to our favorite luggage!
The Sexy Alligator
1 oz Midori melon liqueur
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz amaretto almond liqueur
1 oz Jagermeister herbal liqueur
Pour Midori melon liqueur and pineapple juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled martini/cocktail glass. Add amaretto by pouring close to the inner edge of the glass; allow to "sink" to the bottom. Float jagermeister on top; if needed, hold spoon to edge of glass while pouring into the spoon. Serve; might not look nice, but tastes a treat.

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zeitgeist, particular friend, perky libertine, animated trickster, iconoclast, rabble-rouser, object of worship, provocateur, capricious damp enchantress, idiosyncratic beloved reptile, whimsical saucy booze hound, bellwether, luminary, stoic, pensive illicit paramour, aloof, engaged, intuitive, curious, perplexing deranged mastermind, passionate, lasciviously adored offspring, amorous, sultry flamboyant charioteer, scholar, scribe, exalted thespian, voracious, considerable chieftain, impaired, cynical colleague, dreamer, procrastinator, loathsome glutton, artist, oppressed peasant, dainty heathen, narcissist, self-loathing...renaissance man