Monday, July 8, 2013

Tuesday Prompt: Suzanne Adam: Snout

About Snouts

The African anteater’s sniffling snout scavenges and snoops inside the swarming anthill. Such versatility those snouts— snorting, snickering, snarling, snorkelling, snuffling and salivating. Wet noses of tapirs and pigs and moles and boxers secrete slimy solutions: mucous, snot and drool that drip, slide and slither. Prominent proboscises probe and poke where they don’t belong, producing panic and repellence. (Do I hear Big Bird’s endearing buddy Snuffleupegus howling in protest?) Snail snouts are less salient than those of beetles and boars, while mashed snouts are the pride of pugs.
A particularly prominent human protuberance propels its owner into the hands of a snout surgeon.

            Reshaping is required to fit society’s standards of snout beauty. Unless ugly is the objective. It’s expected for villains to bear big schnauzes: Scrooge, Captain Hook, wicked queens, nasty stepmothers and ogres under bridges. Ugly is the trademark of the villain: a hooked dripping schnauze sporting a pimple and a hair, black attire, piercing, beady eyes, bad breath, humpbacked, crooked fingers with long pointed nails.
            To be fair to snouts, pronounced proboscises were deemed regal in the lands of pharaohs and Incan princes. Can you picture the proud Native American chief, Sitting Bull, with a snub nose?
Clearly the beauty of snouts lies in the snout of the beholder.

Friday, July 5, 2013

First Word: Tracy Grant: Slapstick


A sense of humor is relative, but not necessarily reciprocal.  What makes me
laugh are my own antics, the silly day-to-day blunders that allow me to take a break from my serious attempt at adulthood.  As I break into a hearty, rib  holding chuckle, tears streaming from my eyes, I am on a roller coaster that  invigorates the ordinary  routine of the day
            That is why I have troubles with slapstick humor – I just don’t get it.  THE  THREE  STOOGES come to mind.  They would yell, eyes popping, at each other then, one would slap or hit or punch the other across the face, or over the head, repeatedly.

            As a little girl, but a big sister, I was told, time and time again, not to do the very things that Moe, Larry and Curly were doing to each other.  I must have been a  curious sight, sitting cross-legged in front of the TV, unsmiling, frowning in judgment.
            I was deeply puzzled by the conundrum between adult rules and their humor. But my husband loves slapstick.  His laughs start low in his throat, and  crescendos as the antics happen like a steady beat of a drum.  He picks up the rhythm of the comic scene, like a child at the circus watching the clowns in great anticipation.  He thinks it is so jolly to watch grown men bonk each other, look
stunned and then bonk back.  I wallow in my mud of disbelief.            

            Being entertained with slapstick humor today, in this world of conflict, wars, terrorism, child slavery, abused women is unimaginable for me.  “Lighten up!”, my husband says to me.  I crack a smile, a half smile, but he doesn’t realize that, most of all, what I am enjoying is his laughter, his escape from the invisible routines of his life, as he roars up and down on his roller coaster, tears streaming down his cheeks.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Word: Tessa Too-Kong: Slapstick


Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, clowns at the circus – I never found them funny. Clowns were scary, with huge red alcoholic noses, big clown clobbering little clown, bullying taken to the nth degree. It is all about status – who is positioned more strongly can dictate the terms. The learner is an idiot because he doesn’t get it right the first time round, and gets penalized accordingly with a pie in the face or a slap with a mop. There’s no forgiveness, no saving face – or maybe that’s the point, ridicule lies in knowing he’s going to make the same mistake again, no matter what. Life must be a slapstick comedy and we mortals the clowns, and the gods must all be reclining around eating grapes and sipping chalices of ambrosia and waiting for the next human to make them roar with laughter. I see it in my friends’ choices of men -  the same man, either literally or metaphorically, doing the same things to them, and their falling into the same behavioural patterns, the same codependent relationships, locked into a compelling – and at the same time repellent – cycle. Is slapstick funny because we recognise our own shortcomings? Or is it the anticipation of glee at another’s overconfidence and arrogance going awry…? Watching them strut through life like masters of the universe only to step into a bucket of paint or get slapped by a mop or fall off a ladder…? Curiously, the comforting thing about clowns is the way they bounce back, dust the sawdust off their hands, wind up their determination, and do it again.

Monday, July 1, 2013

First Word: Charmaine Pauls: Slapstick

Slap Stick

My mother had a slap stick, but it wasn’t at all funny, not like the slapstick comedy we loved. It was a wooden stick she used to slap us with when we were disobedient. I can’t remember Slap Stick’s name, but is must have been something like ‘Obedience’. The rules were simple – one smack on the palm of your hand for lightweight mischief and a slightly more impressive one on the bottom for any action that disrespected another being or his possessions, or endangered any life.
            Despite Obedience’s reinforced discipline, my brother and I climbed into the apple tree one afternoon while my mother was taking the washing from the line. White sheets reflected starchily in the sun. The cider apples were deceitfully red. Underneath all that tight-pulled peel, smooth as a Botox brow, they were floury bitter.
            A few rotten ones spilled from the branch above. They were browning, the skin wrinkling and sagging around the holes bird beaks had left. The invisible bruises rippled to the core, accumulating into a stinking pulp of raw apple puree.
            “Let’s play war,” I suggested. “The apples are the bombs. Aim for the fence,” I told my younger brother.
            – My first apple grenade hit the newly painted wall and left its mushy brown mark.
            – My brother’s apple hit a sheet.
            – My mother’s voice exploded over the yard, far worse than any bomb.
Either from fright or reflex my brother projected his second round of ammunition, which rocketed through the air and hit a bull’s eye on my mom’s unsuspecting back.
            We were both ordered to the bathroom, Obedience in tow. I was first, being the oldest. My brother had to wait his turn outside. Before Obedience hit its target, I had already started yelling, believing a better show would lighten the blow. From the other end of the door, Andrew said, “It’s my turn now.” 

            He could never stand my screaming.