April is the cruellest month…

April 2, 1999

I’ve been had. I’ve been conned, duped, hornswaggled, deceived, bamboozled, and a victim of ledgerdemain. I’m a rube, a mark, a bumpkin, a yokel, an easy target, a swain. Why am I all these things? Because I, like so many others, have tried one of the currently popular herbal remedies. Specifically I’ve been taking gingko which, according to the literature on the side of the bottle, is supposed to make you smarter. I’ve been taking the stuff two and three times a day for over a week, and I have yet to see any real effect. I certainly don’t feel any smarter. The sad thing is I should have known better. When I was first offered gingko with the promise that it would make me more intelligent, I should have remembered the old local joke about the city kid and the country kid. The city kid and the country kid, so the joke goes, were walking through the forest when they found a pile a rabbit pellets (for those of you who live exclusively in urban areas, these are droppings, and, as in urban areas, they’re left everywhere and no one’s required to clean them up). The city kid asked, "What are those?" The country kid replied, "Those are smart pills. Go ahead and try one." So, after eating five or six, the city kid said, "These taste like s–t!" The country kid said, "You’re getting smarter already." Well, at least I have enough intelligence to figure out that an herb can’t make someone smarter.

Hey, maybe it’s working after all!

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


* * * HOLY GRAIL * * *

As is.
$50 or best offer.

I got it cheap at a flea market. It’s the real McCoy, and I thought I was getting a great deal. But it turned out not to be so hot from my point of view. I’ll explain, because I don’t want anyone saying how I cheated them if it wasn’t what they expected.

First, the Grail sheds a pure and holy light. That’s okay, and it’s quite a conversation piece, but it’s damn annoying when you’re trying to sleep or watch TV. Covering the grail with a cloth does not seem to help for some reason. (We have been using white samite; perhaps this is the source of the problem?)

Second, only the pure of heart can touch or even look upon the Grail. Needless to say I do not qualify. This means that we haven’t been able to dust behind it on the mantel since we put it in there. Therefore anyone who wants to purchase the Grail will have to come and carry it away themselves; we will not deliver it.

Third, every month or so since we have had the Grail, three white-clothed women have made a silent and eerie procession through our house. They also glow with a pure and holy light, and they have no consideration for any guests who happen to be living in the downstairs room. It sure is a good thing that they are silent, because I think otherwise the neighbors would surely have complained. We got enough weird glances as it is. To top it off, one of the glowing babes is carrying a spear which continually drips blood. True, the blood vanishes ere it touches the floor, but nevertheless I get queasy at the sight of blood and these women traipsing through my house with their cloth and blood and light and stuff at all hours of the day and night are really getting on my nerves.

Anyway that’s the scoop. Perhaps someone else out there knows how to deal with these problems and would like to take the abominable cup off my hands?

Sister Mary Barbie: This spiritual Barbie comes with jointed knees and neck for genuflecting and praying, mini rosary beads, a mini bible and a black sequinned nun’s habit (after all, she’s still Barbie). Pull the string on her back and she says nothing because she has taken a vow of silence.

Rabbi Barbie: So, why not? Women rabbis are on the cutting edge in Judaism. Rabbi Barbie comes with tiny satin yarmulke, prayer shawl, Teflon, silver kaddish cup, Torah scrolls. Optional: tiny mezuzah for doorway of Barbie Townhouse.

Admin Barbie: Works twenty hour days for little pay (80% of Admin Ken’s salary), and is the lowest on the totem pole despite being the one that actually runs the group. Comes with mini laptop. Pull the string on her back and she’ll schedule a meeting with your other dolls, replace the toner cartridge in the laser printer, co-ordinate a re-org and a move, and order airline tickets for Admin Ken.

Temp Barbie: This smartly dressed, intelligent, hardworking and enthusiastic Barbie is ready to go right out of the box, but usually goes untouched for at least a day while everyone tries to figure out why they bought her. Pull the string on her back and she’ll stuff envelopes indefinitely, all the while wondering why she got a liberal arts degree. Comes with mini resume and mini filing cabinet filled with the past five years worth of US Tax Code revisions which need to be collated.

Ripped-Off-In-The-Divorce-Settlement Barbie: Pull the string on her back and she unloads a torrent of insults and death threats for her ex’s new wife. Comes with a hatred for all men, and a Malibu Barbie tan (except for a white band on the ring finger of her left hand).

Twelve-Step Barbie: Pull the string on her back and she says, "Hi, I’m Barbie and I’m an alcoholic." Comes with a "One Day at a Time" bumper sticker, a 30-day chip and a pack of smokes.

Birkenstock Barbie: Finally, a Barbie doll with horizontal feet and comfortable, if ugly, sandals. Made from recycled materials.

Bite-The-Bullet Barbie: An anthropologist Barbie with pith helmet, camera, detachable limbs, fake blood and the ability to perform surgery on her-self in the Outback.

Blue Collar Barbie: Comes with overalls, protective goggles, lunch pail, UAW membership, pamphlet on union-organizing and pay scales for women as compared to men. Waitressing outfits and cashier’s aprons may be purchased separately for Barbies who are holding down second jobs in order to make ends meet.

Homegirl Barbie: Truly a fly Barbie in midriff-bearing shirt and baggy jeans. Comes with gold jewellery, hip-hop accessories and plenty of attitude. Pull cord and says things like "I don’t think so," "Dang, get outta my face," and "You go, girl." Teaches girls not to take crap from men.

Transgender Barbie: Formerly known as G.I. Joe.

Robotic Barbie: Hey, kids, experiment with an autonomous two-legged walking machine! After falling over she says "Control theory is hard. Damn these spike heels anyway!"

Dinner Roll Barbie: A Barbie with multiple love handles, double chin, a real curvy belly, and voluminous thighs to show girls that voluptuousness is also beautiful. Comes with a miniature basket of dinner rolls, bucket o’ fried chicken, tiny Entenmann’s walnut ring, a brick of Dreyer’s ice cream, three bags of potato chips, a T-shirt reading "Only the Weak Don’t Eat", and, of course, an appetite.

Mobile Home Park Barbie: Comes complete with hair in rollers and pregnant. Accessories include two toddlers. When you pull the string on her back she asks where her gov’t support check is. Some Mobile Home Barbies come with surprise Ken or G.I. Joe since they often give her surprise visits when they come into town.

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