Maniacal Mascots

Western-Kentucky-Big-Red“Who’s Your Daddy?”

When Kevin and I drive anywhere, we often have little games that we play to amuse ourselves. One of our favorite games is “guess the mascot”, where we try to guess the town’s high school mascot before we see it on the water tower or signage. First, just let me say that I give mad props to the Paducah Dragons, Kress Kangaroos, the Hutto Hippos and the Lewisville Fighting Farmers. I love it when an entire village agrees to take the road less traveled!

Normally, the way we play is to first pick from a list of mascots that have the same first letter as the town. For example, as we go through a town such as Wall, we would probably pick something like the wildcats. If one of us has picked that and the other still needs one, or if we cannot seem to picture any mascot that begins with the same letter as the town, then we hedge our bets with the usual common mascots. By the way, you cannot imagine how many schools have bulldogs, tigers, eagles, mustangs and wildcats, just to name a few of the ones we run across over and over again. In fact, sometimes towns with the same mascot will only be a few miles apart from one another. It reminds me of the town names given to settlements along the railroads. It seems as though the guys on the railroads just picked the same town names over and over again from state to state, which is why you see so many repeat towns like Miami, Jackson or Jacksonville, Chester, and Madison. Did you know that there are 41 Springfield’s in the U.S.? Anyway, this lack of originality sadly bleeds over into the mascot world. There are so many lions and cougars in captivity!

We celebrate jubilantly when we guess correctly, but we also have a full-on high-five frenzy when we run across a name that is out of the ordinary, even though we are not quite certain why someone would choose that nickname. Kevin’s school in Oklahoma was the Paoli Pugs. Technically, that pug isn’t so far from a bulldog, but by golly, it is not one used by every other little town, so I have to credit them with some originality. Henryetta, Oklahoma, where Troy Aikman led the football team when he was in high school, used to be the Hens. I would think that this mascot could cause some problems if you are a macho dude, and using the male version of chicken could potentially cause the high school kids to make inappropriate jokes. Come on, we all snickered when we played the Trojans (we knew brand names much better than we knew our world history). I can also imagine that every opponent would have big posters daring the Hens to “lay an egg”. They have since changed to be the Knights, and I can see why. We have known a few schools that were the steers. As a farm girl, I cannot imagine that a boy or girl would want to be cheered on as a steer.

Sometimes the choices are just a bit strange: Amarillo High School is the Sandies. They are officially the Golden Sand Storms, and if you have ever been through a sand storm in West Texas, then you can see why it was chosen. Sand storms are frequent and ferocious. Then down the road from there, you have the Hereford Whitefaces. I know cattle pretty well, and I still find that to be a bit bizarre. But the whiteface is by far better than the Brazosport Exporters. Yes, the exporters. I am not sure how you purchase the costume for that one. What do they export and why is it scary? Perhaps it is a euphemism for drug trafficking, which would be very scary indeed! Even though I might not choose exporters, I do think that schools should start thinking outside the box more. Let’s go with some truly frightening mascots. If New Braunfels can be the unicorns, then mythical creatures could be fun. I vote for Pilot Point Poltergeists and Victoria Vampires. They have wolves already, so why not go with werewolves? (Honestly, vampires and werewolves were much more frightening before the Twilight craze).

I can also go with diseases. I know I would think twice when going up against the Elgin Ebola or the Snyder Shigalosis. I would be defeated before I even got to the game! Again, the costumes might be a little tough. I once thought of using schizophrenics as a mascot because high school kids are often being yelled at by coaches, teammates, parents and fans, so they naturally have a hard time deciding which of the voices to heed, plus with kids, you never know on a given day which form of your team will show up to play. I decided, though, that those suffering from mental illness would not appreciate my choice, so I dropped it from my repertoire in order to be more politically correct. I had also considered sexually transmitted diseases because if there is anything we want high school students to fear, it is STD’s, and using them should by all intents and purposes raise awareness. Who would not fear the Grand Prairie Gonorrhea? How about the St. Joe fighting Syphilli? Again, I did decide to show a bit more common sense and avoid those as well (take that however you wish).

Colleges and universities are at a whole new level in bizarre mascots. Talk about the elephant in the room, the Alabama Crimson Tide is a strange mascot, and perhaps not so intimidating unless you take that from a female perspective, then it can be a fierce and terrifying mascot when associated with lady only happenings. I am pretty sure that wasn’t the intent behind that mascot, but it is the only way it makes sense to me. Suffice it to say, no one will be asking me to choose their mascot anytime soon. PMS…hhhmmm, how about the Perryton PMS? You are right, it probably would not once again be politically correct or well, appropriate. I believe that my coupe de gras for names would have to be Electra. As a counselor, how could I not pick the Electra Complexes? Can you see their slogan? “Complexes want to know, who’s your daddy?”

Road Rage


Road Rage KittyRoute Rageous

Nothing reveals a person’s true character more than driving. It does not matter how decent a human is face to face, behind the wheel of a car sits someone with a different demeanor. Think of it in terms of watching a show like Supernatural or Grimm where the seemingly handsome or beautiful person turns, and suddenly the demon under the outer layer is shown for everyone around to see it. In Freud’s terms, that superego disappears faster than candy on an unattended teacher’s desk. Sans superego, there are many different types of drivers out there.

You have the retired drivers; we used to call them the blue hairs, but that seems sexist, and I think men are just as poor at driving and hair dying as women. These folks don’t have to hurry at all because they have nothing else to do, save for visiting doctors and lawyers. That is not a poor character trait, but it does seem to bring out the worst in the rest of us. It is probably to their advantage that they don’t go anywhere quickly in case they forget to stop or stay on their side of the road. I used to think that for population control, the powers that be would open the nursing home doors and say, “Go forth and maim!” Now as I close in on nursing home age, I think it is a terrible way to look at things, and I am sure that I never actually thought that (See benefits of dementia). Most of us reveal our own lack of character as we scream at them, “Good grief, Gramps, get out of the road, for the love of Bob!”

Then you have the big-haired Texas SUV driver (indigenous to Texas, but has counterparts in every state, with the exceptions of Hawaii and Alaska), whose male equivalent is the gold-chained luxury car driver. They are the ones that believe the entire world should cow-tow to them. They cut you off in traffic quite often, and they always win the parking wars. No matter how long you have been sitting with your blinker on waiting for that parking space, they swoop in and dare you to hit them, all the while giving you the “You-have-some-nerve” and “it-is-always-your-fault” look and gesture (we have all experienced the one-fingered wave, which is a different finger on dirt roads than on the highway).

Next, you have the people who either do not understand taking turns or refuse to take turns. This is very apparent at a four way stop. There is a saying for that: “If you don’t know what to do at a four way stop, give up. Life only gets harder from here.”-Unknown. I honestly believe that people know what to do, they just refuse to do it. These people make you angrier than a cat dressed in a Halloween costume, and in case you are not familiar, that is as angry as a woman falling into a toilet with the seat up at 2 in the morning. If you still cannot relate, then you have indeed led a charmed life.

You have the people that have stickers all over their vehicles proclaiming themselves Christian, frequent urinators, political savantes or most likely to sexually harass someone. Most of those are pretty selfish drivers, and I find it ironic that a person who advertises himself or herself all over the vehicle still thinks that the cloak of anonymity keeps them from having to behave on the road ways.

Let me take a moment to address the outlandishly expensive sports cars and monster trucks who drive as though they compensate for small anatomical parts, brains and beyond. These people are often stereotyped as drug dealers, pimps or just big-ego-small-IQ people. Their narcissistic attitudes can cause them to be a nuisance on the road as well as in bars. While I am going down this slippery slope, I must make mention of the pickups with the “decorative” (I use this term in the loosest sense) testicles hanging off the back bumper. I would call that redneck, but my family is full of rednecks, and I have never seen those at any family reunion of mine. I think that those are a whole other level of uncouth, and more than compensating for lack of size, they must be prostheses for those who actually have none. You know, even if we ignore the classless side of this accessory, I would think that it would bother someone to have something so unattractive adorning the vehicle, and even though I have long thought that we need to quit revering youth and honor age (only because I got old, of course), the saggy and droopy-looking genitalia looks like it belongs in a Speedo thong on Miami Beach with the wrinkled and retired. That is something I could not unsee from my vacation day on that beach one year, so my mind made that comparison.

The drivers that confound me the most are the texting drivers. Time and time again it has been proven that texting while driving is worse than playing Russian roulette, yet on a daily basis I see people texting while driving and in many cases, speeding as well. Just like drunk drivers, if you want to kill yourself, it is up to you, but in the names of my future grandchildren, don’t take someone else out with you! If we all put “Go Pro” cameras on our cars and snapped pictures of them texting along with their license plates every time we saw someone do this, and then we assigned a task force to show up at their homes to give them a $5000 fine, perhaps we could eventually stop this practice. But realistically this task force is not going to happen.           Perhaps someone could invent a car that disables all phones the driver touches while the car is in gear. I know it’s another long shot, but if a car can drive itself for Google, then that technology might be possible.

Finally, I address the school zone drivers who commit egregious fouls, the least of which is driving too fast. Let’s focus on parents. Their children learn from them very quickly that rules do not apply to their family. Am I the only one out there that has always thought all rules applied to me? Even rules that are not applicable to me, I think are made for me! Just today I nearly ran into a vehicle that did not wish to wait in the drop off line, so she went ‘in” the “exit” lane and passed vehicles in line to double park and let her child out. Clearly she is far too busy and important to wait with everyone else.

Delving further into the drop off issues, I see four types of parents dropping off children. First there is the teacher pleaser, and as a teacher, they please me. They do it by the book, but this is a very small percentage of the population. Next you have the helicopter parents who will not have their children ready themselves in any way before the ultimate drop off point, nor will they do anything to help expedite the process. These folks do this whether the weather is 30 or 70 degrees, rain or shine. They are going to make certain that their babies do not take one unnecessary step. To further exacerbate that situation, the child usually has to stand at the window and have the talk that they should have had the night before about when they want to go shopping for prom dresses and whether the guy in the blue cap totally glanced their way. This practice actually causes other people in the drop-off line to embrace the practice of breaking the rules. Then there are the parents at the opposite end of the spectrum; they are the ones who drop their child off in four lanes of moving traffic to play real life “Frogger” and dodge all of those other rule-breaking drivers. And last but not least, we have parents who have no time or patience for the entire child rearing process. They just get within 200 feet of the school to slow, and as they pull away you can hear them yelling, “Tuck and roll, find a way home, now tuck and roll.” Pretty sure that there are a lot of “tuck and roll’ drivers out there teaching us about life on the roadways.

Mind over Bladder

Let’s make a deal. I really wanted to do one of those deals with God, but I know I shouldn’t. He is already so busy making deals to let football teams win a certain game,  for a girl to get a date with a guy, for a cheater to not get caught or for someone to pass a biology test that I cannot justify monopolizing his time or his miracles with my issues. However, if I had one deal to make, I think it would be this: I will go ahead and get old and accept responsibility for the wear, tear and abuse of the equipment, if he will just suspend all bodily functions from age 45 until we die. Now, that sounds like a poor deal because you are thinking that with no bodily functions, we automatically die, but that is where the miracle comes in. I mean after all, it is my fantasy and God is omnipotent, so if I want to still live with no bodily functions, then he could make that happen. The way I see it, we can no longer control any of them anyway, so why have us oldies be burdened. It’s not an unreasonable request. We would still suffer from gravity pulling everything on our body toward the ground, we would still have constant aches and pains, and we would still have wrinkles and cankles and all that other fun stuff that goes with getting old. Plus, we would still have one foot in the grave. We would just be spared the embarrassment of leaking like a sieve from every orifice of our worn out old bodies.

After giving birth to two fine, but rather large, children, and reaching a certain age, I am often, but not always, saved from horrific bodily function embarrassment by my memorization of every public restroom located within a 700 mile radius of where I live. When my memory goes, I am literally SOL.

One time when my kids were young, we were on one of our many road trips, and one of us had to go to the bathroom. As was our custom, we began the encouragement phase of “Hold it until we find a place to stop.” There were a lot of “You-can-make-it” cheers. It was at that time that our son Duncan coined the term “Mind over bladder”, and it has been with us ever since. It can only take an older person so far, though, and then the mind and bladder are both too weak to do any good at all.

As a person who rarely has time to get into a public stall before calamity becomes reality, I have the whole pantsing move down to a poetic all-in-one “pull, turn, sit” (or squat depending on how desperate I am or how filthy the bathroom is). This ballet move should really be incorporated into Swan Lake, and it has surreptitiously saved me from more than one unplanned swim. However, there was one time that it did not save me from being between a rock and a hard place. On this occasion, I had to use what my husband calls my “sexy walk” which, by the way is anything but. The sexy walk signifies great distress and is characterized by a walk attempted while nearly crossing one’s legs, and clamping the thighs and everything else together so tightly that an atom of oxygen could find nary a spot to get through the barrier. Unfortunately, holding the airtight, watertight seal is a goal too lofty for a long walk. As usual, I was in a public place and although embarrassing, the sexy walk was holding out, but barely. I got into the stall and began the famous “pull, turn, sit” motion. It was going to be a close call. Now, I had never experienced this before and did not realize that it was even a possibility, but the seat was one of those that is split in front like a horseshoe as opposed to the full ring version. I am not the daintiest person in the world, and these thunder thighs do their job in the sexy walk, but they have their disadvantages elsewhere. Have I ever told you how much I loathe being pinched? I used to hate it in junior high when someone would grab the inside of your thigh and yell, “Horse bite!” and squeeze like your thigh was in a vice, so just imagine for a moment how it felt when my full body weight went down on the inch squared piece of skin and cellulite filled with nerve endings that was somehow caught between the top seat of the toilet and the bowl. Holy mother of pearl that hurt, and I couldn’t get up because the full force of Niagra Falls had hit simultaneously. Cripes! What does one do but suffer in silence? Can’t swear or scream because it is a public place. My eyes may have watered or not; I may have passed out, but I don’t think I did because I did not fall off the throne. I will never forget that; furthermore, I have instituted more caution which does unfortunately add the greater chance of splash peril into my routine.

Another time I was in a public restroom with one other person. Now let me be clear that I do not to this day have any idea who that person may have been, nor am I even certain it is an establishment that I frequented. But this other nameless patron washed her hands (Kudos for that!) and then out of habit proceeded to turn out the lights on her way out the door. Pitch black is what I saw. This in my experience is truly a “no win” situation. If I chose to stay seated, there is no guarantee that the next person will enter in a timely manner, and what would said person think turning on the light and finding another being sitting there in the dark? Or in a possibly worse scenario, I could make a decision to head towards the light (no pun there), and get partway there before another person comes into the bathroom, turns on the light, and has a cardiac episode or perhaps a loss of bodily function event when I am standing in the middle of the room. I could not have run to the light switch because it was darker than the devil’s promises, and I might have run into something causing injury or even a concussion, which also cannot be explained. It’s a lose/lose people! Think about what you would do. Okay, so it turned out all right. I went cautiously to turn on the light, and no one came in until after I was finished washing my hands. In case you are wondering, I took some toilet paper in my hand to turn on the switch without contaminating anything.

Thus, those are just a few of the reasons that I think bodily functions should go away with age. We don’t really need them any longer, and it doesn’t matter what the offending element (water, wind, or fire), we can no longer control Mother Nature in any of her forms. I recently went with friends on a little trip, and we had such a good time. We laughed and laughed, which caused as many problems with bodily functions as sneezing and/or coughing, and I am pretty sure that every fit of raucous laughter was interrupted with someone yelling, “Stop, stop, I’m gonna pee!”