Friday, August 10, 2018

First World Problems

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

            "Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder." -Kinky Friedman 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

I didn't get it when I was a kid -- not even after I morphed into a hormone-saturated adolescent -- and I don't get it now.

I refer to beauty pageants.

According to Wikipedia: "A beauty pageant or beauty contest is a competition that has traditionally focused on judging and ranking the physical attributes of the contestants, although most contests have evolved to also incorporate personality traits, intelligence, talent, and answers to judges' questions as judged criteria."

The reason I bring this up is that recently the Miss America Pageant -- which is what I in my ignorance thought it was called but is, according to their official website, Miss America 2.0 -- was a news story for a minute.

Before I move on, in the interest of full disclosure and so that I can sleep soundly and peacefully, I must confess that I wasn't aware that this absurd anachronism still existed. Hopefully, if I'm granted the dual blessing of great-grandstickies and they actually read what I'm leaving behind for them, they won't know what a beauty contest was. And whatever happened to Ms? I thought Miss was sexist.

In my defense, it's not easy to keep track of the decline of Western Civilization when it's under attack on so many fronts. For example, if you type the phrase Western Civilization into the Wikipedia search box the article that pops up is titled Western Culture. It's hard out here for a crank.

Anyways... the news story was about the fact that going forward the swimsuit competition is no longer a thing, although parading around in evening gowns and high heels still is. It brought to mind a cultural touchstone of the late sixties, "women's libbers" burning their bras on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk -- which didn't actually happen. Protest, yes, bra burning, no.

[Call it what you will, "fake news" or purple journalism, it's not a new phenomenon. By the way, the famous anti-pageant protest in question happened fifty years ago, howsabout that! fellow boomers.]

Big But...

No shortage of ex-contestants, and women currently involved in the nationwide system of beauty contests that supplies fresh bodies for the annual extravaganza, are up in arms. They don't want the swimsuit competition banned.

Unlike me -- I guess they don't find the thought of young female H. sapiens with too many teeth being mandated to parade across a stage in a bikini in order to participate in " of the nations leading achievement programs for young women" -- hi-LAR-ious/ironical/hypocritical/antiquated/etceterated.

Maybe it's me... No, it ain't. I've saved the best for last.

Perhaps there is hope. Although this controversy has riven the nation, both sides (as far as I know) still agree on the fundamental rules governing who can participate in " of the nations leading achievement programs for young women." The quote is from Miss America 2.0, (scroll down past the pics of plastic coated mannequins). The following was obtained from a website called Pageant Planet.

- Age: 17 to 24
       But I'm only 25, and I've just been admitted to Harvard Medical School!

- You can't be married, previously married, or divorced.
       But I'm only 18, happily married, and a genius who's about to graduate               from Harvard Medical School, and I've no money for my law degree!

- You must not have a child, be currently or previously pregnant, or be the adoptive parent of any child.
      You're against abortion, or keeping the kid, or keeping someone else's kid?

- You must not have been charged for any minor offenses in the last 24 months.
      It was one joint!

- You can't compete if you've ever been convicted of a criminal offense.
      It was one joint!

 For all intents and purposes, you will be a slave for a period of one year and go where we tell you to go and do what we tell you to do. If you and your cute, uh, little brain ain't out there raising money to keep our non-profit greased we would have to get real jobs. I paraphrased this last bit...

My late father-in-law, your great, or great-great-grandfather, thought the perfect job was a taste tester in a pie factory. However...

Warning: the following cultural reference may be past its sell-by date

If Clark Griswold, the world famous developer of non-nutritive cereal varnish was still around, he would get a hefty Christmas bonus if he perfected "Perma Pie-Pretty, adds a full extra year of shelf life."

So if I were you, I'd shoot for a job in any given non-profit with a ratio of 80% bonkercockie to 20% real. You need at least 20% real to hide behind if/when the excrement hits the HVAC system. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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