Archive | April, 2013

If you could know your future, would you?

30 Apr Crystal Ball

All of us have played the game, “If you were a superhero what would your superhero power be?” Normally, there is at least one person who would like to be able to see into the future. That tends to lead to the discussion of, “would that be a good idea or kind of scary?” I’ve always thought it would be really scary. I mean, why know if you can’t change it? Because invariably, there will be things you find out that you wish you could change. Trust me, if I knew that guy I dated would turn out to be such a jerk, I definitely would have changed that.

The best answer I had ever heard in response to the superhero power/knowing the future was while tubing down a river as there’s lots to talk about with your friends when not flipping over and seeing if your lungs can hold the same amount of water as they do air (according to the internet that would be about six liters for both. And we know everything you read on the internet is true). Anyway, this friend said that his superpower would be seeing 10 minutes into the future. Wow, never thought of that. Just enough time to maybe think twice about stepping off that curb in front of that oncoming bus. Or perhaps, moving over ten feet before that bird decided you would be the perfect landing spot for its digested worm buffet breakfast. Or you could actually use this power to be a superhero and benefit of others. Maybe you run on down the street to be in place just in time to catch that baby who just fell out of the 10th story window.

So, if it were possible, would you want to know the future?

This question popped into my head because of two events I attended the past twoBig Fish Marquee weekends. One was that event I was preparing to go to in Does She or Doesn’t She. This was opening night for Big Fish, the musical in Chicago. It follows the exceptional life and death of Edward Bloom. Edward has known basically how he will die ever since he was a young man when a witch pulled out her crystal ball and showed him. This knowledge allows Edward to do spectacular things in his life because he is not afraid that they will kill him. He confronts giants, goes to war and single-handedly takes out an assassin, and he and his friends are swallowed whole by the titled “Big Fish” only to have Edward teach them how to be reborn and escape. He is not afraid because, as he says, “This is not how I will die.”

After seeing this I began to think, maybe seeing into the future might not be such a bad thing. The freeing feeling of knowing how you will die might enable you to live more. Wouldn’t it be great to learn from your mistakes before you make them and actually have to live with the consequences? Perhaps I never would have entered that limbo contest in Trinidad if I knew it would require me to have back surgery (the limbo contest? I won! And lost). Or maybe, while in junior high school, I would never have chosen to wear those black corduroys with the word “Boogie” spelled out in rhinestones on the back pocket if I had known how silly they would seem in 2013 (stop judging, it was the 70’s). Perhaps all of those girls that got tattoos on their lower back (we all know what they’re known as today) would have looked ten years into the future and decided that some temporary henna paint might be a better idea. The point is, perhaps seeing into the future, or at least knowing how you will die has its advantages.

Life Tracker

Watch the trailer

The second event that caused me to ponder the whole future knowledge question happened this past weekend. I attended another world premier (gosh my life sure sounds so much more glamorous than it feels on a daily basis). This time it was an Indy movie called Life Tracker. The movie is a pseudo-documentary about, what else, a documentary filmmaker who discovers a company which can analyze your DNA and provide you with, well, your future. Among other things, they can tell you how many kids you will have and with whom, what your health issues will be (including broken bones) and your date of death. Questions arise such as; if it’s in your DNA and you therefore, cannot change it, why know? Would people lose their initiative (sort of like smoking pot) and just let it all happen? Without giving away any surprises (you should see the movie), in the end, it’s up to you to decide if the characters seeing their future was a good thing or a bad thing.

During the Question and Answer time with the writer/director, producer and lead actors I raised the question, “If you could know your future, would you?” Surprisingly, at least to me, all said yes. The lead actor (Barry Finnegan) did hesitate for a moment and say, well, he might not be the first to ask for the information but, if everyone else were doing it, he would probably end up doing it also (that’s how I got sucked into twitter).

As for me, I like the idea of going skydiving because I know I’m not going to die that way. Oh wait, I’ve already done that a couple of times. Didn’t die. Or perhaps rafting those Deliverance rapids knowing I will neither drown nor run into a sadistic group of perverts who insist I squeal like a pig. Yup, rafted many times and never even met one creepy, banjo-playing kid. Or maybe I would step outside onto the wing of a biplane and live my dream of wing-walking. Something I haven’t done but began to consider while sitting on a long flight from Turkey with my friend the 5 year-old kicking my seat the entire way (yes, wing-walking is on my bucket list so, if you know anyone who can help me, you know where to find me).

So, with this sudden immersion into the world of soothsaying, if the possibility of knowing how I will die becomes a reality would I want to know? I still can’t make a decision on that to save my life. Uh, well, hhmmmm. . .not sure how that would work.

How about you? If you could know your future, or at least, when/how you would die, would you want to know? Please comment below and we can discuss.


The Meaning of a Piece of Cloth

16 Apr

One of my various jobs in Travel and Tourism was as an Adventure Tour Guide. I used to drive foreigners across the U.S. and Canada in a minivan finding various adventures along the way.

One of the best parts of the job was meeting Japanese, Singaporean, British, Australian, German, Dutch, Korean, South African and Israeli young people. Another favorite part of the job was showing them my beautiful country. When you drive from New York to Los Angeles through the south, you are struck by the diversity of scenery and people. There are however, a few things that remain constant. One of the most noticeable to my tour groups was the American flag.

The song America the Beautiful talks about amber waves of grain and purple mountains’ majesty. What it doesn’t talk about are the flags. The enormous flags that blow in the winds high above our cities, from government buildings to car dealerships. The not so enormous flags that dot residential streets in small towns across America. The tiny flags waved by young children during 4th of July celebrations throughout America.

My passengers’ constant comment about these, “you Americans, you love your flag.” But do we? This piece of nylon cloth which carries the same colors as countless flags throughout the world. Yes, the flag represents some facts about America. The thirteen stripes standing for the thirteen original colonies which began the formation of this powerful country. Of course, the stars. One for each state in this glorious union. There are approved ways to dispose of an old flag. There are approved ways to fly one (Be sure not to let it touch the ground. No other flag must fly above it). There are ceremonies to raise it and ceremonies to lower it. It drapes coffins of war heroes. It is lowered to half-staff when the country mourns. Yet, in the end, it is still a piece of material.

Yesterday in Boston something terrible happened. Due to the prevalence of camera phones and the joyous event taking place, there are a plethora of videos and pictures to document the scene. If you look past the carnage, chaos and human suffering, you will notice something else. Flags.

Mixed in with the red of the blood spread throughout the streets was the red, white and blue of the American flag. But why were the flags there in the first place? Some, undoubtedly because, well, that’s just where they are. Those are the flags that watch over those streets on a daily basis. They hang in the cold and are witness to the hustle and bustle of daily life on streets below. Others were there because yesterday, in Boston, was Patriots day. A day to celebrate the actions that led to the formation of this country. It was a day to honor the strength of those who helped form this great nation as well as those who fight to keep it great. These fights take place on battlefields, in Congress, and in voting booths. They also happen when little guys stand up for what they believe to be right. When firefighters run into burning buildings to save old ladies and when small children donate their birthday money to help starving children in some far off land. They take place when everyday people decide they can make a difference simply by donating blood.

It’s not that we Americans love our flag. We love what our flag represents. It represents the good in this country. The knowledge that there is more good than bad. More right than wrong. The hope that good will always triumph over evil in the end.

“Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” Yes, we Americans like displaying our flag, but we love what it represents even more.

photo credit, David L. Ryan, Getty Images

photo credit, David L. Ryan, Getty Images

Does She or Doesn’t She?

10 Apr

I’ve never been one for fake. No fake plants, no fake Christmas trees ( yeh, I know, I’m Jewish, but I love Christmas!), no fake breasts (uh, have we not already discussed the lack of need?). People who are fake? I get a bit snarky with them. I don’t even dress up for Halloween because it feels strange pretending to be someone (or something) I’m not when everyone knows it’s fake. And faking an . . . uh, well there’s none of that either. So I find it strange that, all of the sudden, I’ve noticed I’ve begun to make some attempts at trickery in my appearance.Spanx

First, I must explain that I’ve been invited to attend a big event next week. This is one of those events for which most women would break out their best pair of Spanx. So there, the first part of my trickery is out. That would be a, “she does.” Breathing is a luxury I can forego for one night. But my list of other, shall we say, appearance modifications is growing.

First, I have discovered Jorgen’s Natural Glow Body Lotion. You see, I don’t plan to wear pantyhose (stockings, tights, nylons, whatever you want to call them) to this event because my completely uncomfortable shoes have an open toe and I believe that wearing pantyhose with an open-toe shoe is illegal. The problem, I am a redhead therefore, I’ve never been a huge tanner. Now a burner? Yup, when I was little, you could light your cigarette off my skin if I had been in the sun for more than an hour. In my mid-twenties, my skin changed and allowed my burn to magically become a tan after a day or two. As I was working on a ship in the Caribbean, I took full advantage of it. Something new – tan lines! Just after I turned forty I began to notice the damage those years of sun had done to my skin. So, now my legs can also be used as emergency lighting should we have a power outage, and feel free to follow this emergency lighting to the nearest exit should the plane go down. This body lotion really works and I am now on my second tube.

Now that my body is looking darker, I could use for my teeth to look whiter. White Teeth2Although I regularly use whitening toothpaste, I also regularly use coffee and red-wine. What a great discovery I made at the store. Not only did I buy whitening dental floss, but also whitening mouthwash. While I may lose the glow-sticks I call my legs, I will more than make up for the lost wattage with my blinding smile (just be sure to poke a pin through a piece of cardboard to look at me so you don’t burn your corneas).

Next, my eyes. “Your eyes?” you say. Yes. It seems to me that green eyes look best on a redhead. The problem is that mine are hazel. A little brownish, a little lighter greenish, like me, a bit non-committal. So I wear green contacts. Please understand that I’ve thought it ridiculous when people wear contacts simply to change their eye-color when they have no issues with their sight whatsoever. Luckily, I was blessed with pretty crappy eyesight. I’ve needed vision correction to see far since I was sixteen (aah, one of the benefits of driving). The day I turned forty, I suddenly also required vision correction to see close. Doesn’t seem quite fair really. Apparently I’m not alone in this. It’s God’s cruel joke – the day you need glasses to read is the day God starts messing with your head and makes you forget where you put them (laugh it up, Big Guy).

When I put in my green contacts (my right eye sees far and my left eye sees near so if you think I’m winking at you at a restaurant, I could just be attempting to locate the restroom ), I can actually see (kind of)! This leads me to the horrifying discovery of . . . gray roots (ssshhh, don’t tell anybody). Yes, I am a natural redhead but, since the natural red seems to be losing a fight with the natural gray, I’ve got a weapon. Her name is Britton and she my hair-stylist who has joined me in my war against gray hair. Later this week Britton will use her weapons of mass destruction to color my hair back to its youthful red appearance.

And, as my hair will be back to its natural auburn state, do I just wear it in my regular everyday hairstyle? You may have noticed in my photo that, not only am I a redhead, but I’m a curly redhead. It’s strange but I’m told my hair matches my personality (or maybe my personality matches my hair). While I will keep my natural perky personality on this special night, my hair will be enhanced. I decided to test hairstyles the other day (oh so girly). I pulled out the hair-straightener and got busy. Yes, due to new products and appliances I can now have Marcia Brady hair. And, since I live in the desert, it will actually stay that way. But, Marcia Brady is not what I have in mind for this night. Therefore I have purchased hot-rollers to use in combination with straightening. “Wait, straightening your hair just to curl it?” you say. “Uh, perhaps you are a bit indecisive, no?” I prefer to think of it as exercising all of my options. I gave the rollers a try. . .twice. Perhaps it was operator error (the most likely problem) but the roaring twenties flapper girl was not the sophisticated do I was looking for.

I headed back to the store and exchanged the rollers for a curling iron. After browsing an entire aisle dedicated to curling irons I couldn’t decide which size barrel to buy. Do I want big curls or small curls? Loose curls or tight curls? Before my head explodes and I no longer require hair-care products, I choose one with a tapered barrel which has options of ½ inch to an inch. No need to decide (again, just exercising all options). I re-straighten my hair and begin to play around with the curling iron. It comes with a glove in order for me not to burn my hand. How considerate (also a bit odd as I can also use it to remove a hot pan from the oven). I experiment. Hhmmm, do I roll from the thin end to the thick end or vice-versa? OWWW! Crap! What the. . . ?!! That strange smell is the scent of my skin burning. They gave me a glove but they should have provided asbestos shoulder pads. Seared shoulder! I hear God laughing, “This is the reason I gave you curly hair!” I’d put some ice on it but, oh yeh, my freezer door is stuck shut and the repairman can’t come for three days. I unplug the torture device and throw my hair in a ponytail.

Once again, I drive to the store in search of a different torture device. I pick up a regular curling iron with no fancy barrel options. I, once again, straighten my hair and pull out, duh, duh, duhhhhh, the new curling iron. After a few tries at various curling techniques (who am I kidding? I just start wrapping hair around the thing), success! I’ve come up with a hair style for the big night. Time will tell if I can actually create the same hairstyle twice.

So now I have tan skin, white teeth, green eyes, I’ve washed that gray right outta my hair and styled it too! What’s next? Botox! Yup, my dirty little secret. I first got Botox a couple of years ago when I found a Groupon (yes, I’m Jewish so I had a coupon). I had developed a vertical line directly between my eyebrows. It’s the line that a friend of mine calls, ‘the line that makes you look permanently annoyed.’ So the other day, I took advantage of the April special for a good deal on Botox (never pay retail for Botox). I few needles in my face later, I can still move my eyebrows, but there is no look of annoyance on this face (even when I’m annoyed).

Before Botox

Before Botox

And now, from the top to the bottom. You see, I already have the perfect dress and shoes. Well, the shoes would be perfect if didn’t want to run through a lawnmower blade when I wear them simply to cut my feet off as it would be less painful. I have only warn these shoes (and the dress) once. It was on the ship and, at the end of the night I had to walk from the aft of the ship all the way forward (back to front). I considered sleeping with someone simply because their cabin was close than mine.

The shoes are (completely coincidentally) from the Disney Glass Slipper Shoescollection (see previous posts on my most recent employer). Well, now I know why Cinderella left her shoe at the ball. It hurt too damn much! She should have sent Prince Charming back to pick up a pair of Sketchers.

I decide I must make an attempt to break them in. So now I’m wearing them around my house while cleaning. Yes, shorts, T-shirt squirt bottle of cleaning solution, cleaning rag and a lovely (if incredibly painful) pair of sparkly, black heels. All I can say is, Ow!

All that’s left is the bit of baggage under my eyes. While I’ve bought eye cream, I’m not ruling out Preparation H. And, as for my boobs, as Teri Hatcher said, “They’re real and they’re spectacular.”

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